As in Eva Hesse's paintings, it is possible to get a 4 year old and a 1 year old to emulate an artists style, sort of. I began by showing the kids this painting by Wang Hui. First asking them what it looked like then asking them to find things like the people, the buildings, and the trees. I explained what the artist was trying to accomplish and then demonstrated how to draw a line and then make a similar line underneath, over and over.
Step One: Taped down watercolor paper. I just use painters tape, it works great.
Step Two: They each received a black crayon (these are great for little hands). Gio (the 4 year old) was told to draw curvy lines and copy the same design over and over. He got the idea. Eamon (the 1 year old) just did what he liked, though he tried to make the same shapes as big brother.
Step Three: The wonder and ease of tempera cakes! They're the GREATEST! You can get watercolor effects, opacity when you need it, and they're super easy to clean up. So much better than the liquid kind. The kids loved using them. Notice I only gave them black and green. Always limit the palette if you want good results. It also eases their frustration so they don't end up with muddy pictures.
Step Four: I wet their brushes initially and showed them how to take off excess water from the brush. Chinese brushes made the experience a little more authentic. Then they just went at it. Gio knows by now that he has to cover the whole paper.
Step Five: Notice in the picture that I removed the water. At this age, they go crazy for the water and that's all they do. So, I take it away and if they're brushes start to get dry, I wet them for them.
Step Six: Done! I'll often take a blow dryer to them so the kids can enjoy them right away. If not, I'll just play a game with the kids while they dry so they keep their hands off of them.
Happy painting boys!!