Self portrait art for mixed ages

I saw this art project yesterday and, given that today was the first day of the spring break, ergo the first of nearly 3 weeks with all 4 children at home, thought we’d give it a go. 

This is a particularly excellent project if you, like me, have children of different ages to include as it is easily adapted to a wide variety of competence. 

If you limit yourself, like I did, to these paints, it is also remarkably mess free, a total joy given that most art/craft activities around here result in some significant carnage. 

Also, unlike some more traditionally ‘process’ based art activities, the end result is actually pretty lovely – definitely lovely enough to pop up on the wall / fridge and feel smug about having such a creative first day of the holiday.


Also, children seem to like photos of themselves. Particularly my children, as I am so bad at actually printing photos, that they are always totally thrilled to see an actual physical photograph. Or, in this case, a printed copy of a picture I took this morning on my iPhone.

The prompt for the art is a kind of self portrait – what does your imagination look like? And this is where the different ages really get different things from it. My 2 year old just went all out bashing the paint markers on the paper, and fetching some sponge brushes to smear the paint around: 


My 7 and 5 year olds enjoyed talking about what their imaginations consist of. What would a world without imagination look like? What would it be like to jump into a picture, or to be surrounded by ideas? They took this pretty seriously and worked carefully:



Like the website I found the project on, I used tape to delineate a clear white border and make the artwork look a little cleaner at the end, and encouraged them to fill the paper quite densely towards the edges:


Then, removed the Washi tape:

My 2 year old had a pretty clear idea about which art work I should be photographing

… followed by the decision that if her painting was not the only painting to be photographed then, well, it wasn’t going to be photographed at all

There we go. The perfect first Smug-and-Lazy craft of the holiday. Just another…20something days to fill with other miscellaneous projects! Let’s hope the sun comes out soon. 

This was based on an activity I first saw on artbarblog.com – an excellent resource for art/craft ideas in general and highly recommend checking them out if you, like me, lack any artistic direction or creative flair.

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