Keith Haring: silhouette's two ways

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Before Banksy there was Keith Haring.

Keith Haring (1958-1990) was an American artist who lands somewhere in-between Pop and Graffiti Art. He believed that

Art should be for everyone

and not just for those who can afford it or those who would only see it in a gallery or museum.

When talking about art he said:

‘I don’t think art is propaganda… It should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it.’

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Like many of the artists of that generation, they were the pioneers of a counter culture that was happening. Haring worked alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michael Basquiat. Activism was a large part of who he was as an artist. He began drawing as a child and never stopped, when he moved to New York he began to draw in chalk on black paper in the underground. His work quickly became recognisable. He would draw wherever he could, whether it was underground, on lampposts or on the side of building.

His paintings and drawings are vibrant, fun loving and easily recognisable. One of his passions was children and encouraging them to take up art and donating money to those who were in need. When the Statue of Liberty turned 100 years old, he got a vast piece of paper and drew the outline of her on it. He then brought children to completely cover the paper in any way they wanted. When it was displayed people were amazed and art critics questioned why he had done it.

From the book Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

From the book Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

‘Children are the bearers of life in its simplest form. Children are colour-blind and still free of all the complications greed hatred that will slowly be instilled in them through life.’

And Isn’t that the truth?

What do I love about Keith Haring. After reading and purchasing the book Keith Haring - The Boy The Just Kept Drawing (find our book review here) I was struck by how he reminded me of Little Feet A Just like Keith she will use up an entire pad of printer paper if I let her. Her hand is never far from a pen and paper, she is highly prolific in her masterpieces, probably to the horror of many forests… After we read this book together I told her that he reminded me of her and her mouth dropped open.

With this craft and exploration of Keith Harding we would HIGHLY recommend purchasing a like biography of him written by his sister. It is full of colour and a great read.

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Keith Haring Canvas works of art: two ways!

Level of mess: Tame

Level of difficulty: Easy

What you will need:

  • Acrylic paint (colours, black, red, green, blue and yellow) /pens

  • Canvas (if you don’t have a canvas paper is adequate) /paper if using pens

  • Paintbrushes

  • Water

  • Little dolls

  • Pencil

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Instructions:

  1. First of, show them some of Keith Haring’s work and talk a little about what they can see. Which the like or don’t like and why, that sort of thing.

  2. Using your dolls, lay them out on your canvas or paper and get your Little Feet to trace around their bodies. Good for pencil line practise too!

  3. Then using paint or pens get them to colour those figures in.

  4. Get them to fill in the background with black lines and figures like Keith does in his work.

TA DA!

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After we did this I had an idea to get the girls thinking laterally so we headed outside with some giant chalks…

KEITH HARING GARDEN ART!

Introducing Little Feet to Watercolour

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If you didn't already realise, I am a Mummy who loves to do arts and crafts with her two Little Feet, aka Patronus A and B. I like to create in my spare time too and my choice of medium is watercolour. Using watercolour can be beautifully unpredictable. It can be controlled off course, but often if you allow it to create itself you'll be amazed at what happens. 

I had not introduced Big Little Feet (Patronus A) to watercolour until this week. She as asking to do an 'activity', which is what we call our art time. I wanted to do something Eastery so I just cut out a large egg shape. Simple!

Before I go into how to use watercolour for those who have never used it before, I just wanted to share something. Even though I go on about allowing your children the opportunity to explore when creating, in what is called encouraging 'process art', I often struggle with that. I'll have something in my head that we are going to create. Time and time again though, she will surprise me in what she does and will take the craft somewhere that I didn't expect. She teaches me! This happened when we started this painting. 

I wanted to show Big Little Feet how to wet-on-wet paint with watercolour. Wet-on-Wet is where the magic happens. You paint the paper with water first and then load up your paintbrush with watercolour and touch it to the paper. If you quickly wash the brush and put another colour on and touch it to the paper they mix beautifully. As it turned out she made a different kind of magic happen.

After she had tried what i showed her, she saw I had a water-dropper and that is when she took me by surprised. She realised she could make water droplets on the paper and then colour them with her paintbrush and watercolour. There is a video below showing her process. 

After she was done with the water droplets she did go ahead and paint right over them but it was fun to watch her experiment to start with. 

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In fact I was so inspired by what she did, I decided to explore further and take some better pictures of the process so you all could have a better look into how to do it with your kids. 

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You will need: 

  • Water droppers
  • Water in a beaker
  • Watercolour paper (doesn't matter either way)
  • Paintbrush x3
  • Watercolours - I have various ones, block and inks. I would suggest buying perhaps three colours of watercolour ink. Ecoline or Dr. Ph Martin. Both can be bought on Amazon and other various art shops. 
  • Paint palette 

Instructions:

  1. Put some watercolour in the paint palette.
  2. Paint the paper with water so it is all wet. With a paint brush dipped in paint touch it to the paper and watch it spread. With the other paint brushes dip them in the other colours and touch them to the paper. 
  3. Allow them to use the droppers to play around with. 
  4. Have fun with it!  
 

For any that are interested in the difference of watercolour paper: 

There are different types of watercolour paper that you can use, each with different properties that will change the appearance of your work. In it's most simple explanation there are two types of surface:

Hot Pressed: smooth surface. Paint will dry very quickly. It is great for large washes but not for multiple layers. It's really good for a combination of ink, pen and drawing. 

Cold Pressed: textured surface. Good for large washes and lots of detail and layers of paint. 

I generally use cold- pressed paper however I have been trying out some Hot Pressed recently so this is what we used.