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Age four has been magical. Since Miss H turned four last month, her desire to learn blossomed. First she wanted to learn prereading skills, and recently she asked to learn more about painting and drawing. I was so excited to begin Playful Pet Portraits, an online art workshop by Alisha Gratehouse, with her this week.
Before now, we always did unstructured crafts and art projects. But as Miss H matured and became more observant, she wanted to know how to make her drawings and paintings more beautiful. I don’t consider myself a very artistic person, so having a course to do together online is perfect for us.
There are video lessons for 10 art projects, but within each project, the options are unlimited. So many different paintings and drawings could be made from the instructions. Each lesson comes with a template, but you can use your own photos to capture your own pet’s personality.
Right away, I realized how little I actually know about art techniques! When Miss H asks for instructions, they’re usually vague and they definitely lack confidence. But taking this course with her has already armed me with some helpful techniques that I had never learned. This is beyond valuable for a busy mom who otherwise wouldn’t take the time to learn!
Another amazing aspect is that this course is appropriate for all ages. That is such a delicate balance to strike! The course says that it’s appropriate for ages 8 and up, but with a little extra support, Miss H easily completed the projects we tried. I just had to copy the templates for her, and then trace over them in ink when she finished. An older child could do these things on their own, and for a bigger challenge, draw the animal free hand. The course can adjust to a child’s (or adult’s!) abilities.
We started out by painting a watercolor hamster. I hadn’t planned ahead of time, so we didn’t have the right supplies (that doesn’t surprise you, I’m sure!) Our hamsters turned out a little… wrinkly. Thankfully, there’s a supply list for the course, and all the needed materials are mentioned at the beginning of each project. This is extremely helpful because I obviously had no clue about all the different kinds of paper available! Sketch paper, water color paper- they really aren’t interchangeable! We made a midday trip to Michael’s and then jumped into another project.
The second project we did was the colorful turtle. I didn’t make one with Miss H this time, which let me guide her through it a little more closely. She was really interested in and focused on the directions; probably because Alisha is so engaging!
Miss H is so incredibly proud of her work. She wants to frame her pictures and share them with family. She obviously longed to create something beautiful. This gave her a reason to do her absolute best work.
Right now, we’ll probably stick to the painting projects. When she’s a little older, we can do the projects involving oil pastels, charcoal, and even palette knives.
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I’ve already found myself searching through Alisha’s other courses that we might want to use for the future. Her Mixing with the Masters courses look so informative, and would be perfect for us once we begin picture study. They go over the work of famous artists, and let children practice the techniques that they used.
The Playful Pet Portraits and some of her seasonal courses will help us with nature study. We just started a nature journal, and these techniques will help us keep beautiful work in there. One of the most wonderful things is that you can make the projects your own by customizing the colors or subjects in each project.
The Playful Pet Portraits art workshop begins on Monday, April 17. You can preorder it from now until Monday for $24. Starting Monday, it will be available for its regular price of $30. Your purchase gives you lifelong access to the courses.