Every day, well, almost every day, when my daughter comes home from her preschool, she has a “gift” for me. Usually, it’s a rock, a twig, or maybe a found object like a marker top. I always feel like these are special because she saves them to give to me. So even though it may seem like “just” a rock, I feel bad throwing them out. I started keeping some of them in a cup on the top of my refrigerator. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them UNTIL….
One day I was looking through the book If Picasso Had a Christmas Tree and saw a page about Louise Nevelson.
This is an excerpt from that page:
“Some called it trash, some called it art; the things she collected, she’d pull them apart and reorganize them the way she liked, gluing and nailing then painting them white.”
This was when my idea for this project was born – what if I took all the little “gifts” my daughter gave to me and created a Louise Nevelson assemblage?!? That could be really cool.
Louise Nevelson Art Project: Steps
To get started, I showed my daughter all the items I had been saving in the cup. She didn’t even flinch – never once saying anything like, “Mom, those are just rocks.” She was excited to see what we would do with them and the red box I had put out on the table. You could use shoe boxes.
Then we used our Elmer’s Washable Glitter Glue that we enjoy so much, and we “painted” the bottom of a small box with the glue.
After we were sure we had enough glue to hold our objects down, we placed the objects into the glue. I really wanted my daughter to decide where each object went, so I mostly assisted with making sure there was enough glue to hold things down, washed brushes, etc. This was a perfect time for her to make artistic decisions while therapeutically painting and placing the objects.
She was so proud!
Once the objects were all glued down and the glue had dried, we painted over everything with white gesso Liquitex BASICS Gesso (affiliate link), which is a thick white paint used to prime canvases before painting on them. Any white acrylic paint would work – but be careful this doesn’t come out of clothes easily.
We did a few coats of this to create our Louise Nevelson-inspired assemblage in all-white. We used different size brushes to get into the different spaces. We also painted the sides of the box.
Of course, white spray paint would certainly be faster for this Louise Nevelson art project rather than painting everything by hand. However, for a pre-school age activity, painting is such a great fine motor skill practice. It also allows the kids to paint without worrying about what the outcome “looks” like (which can be very important for building confidence).
This Louise Nevelson art project would be great for home school parents and groups in preschools and even primary grades like kindergarten, first grade, and second. Children could go on nature walks or use found objects around the classroom like marker tops, straws, and crayons in their assemblages.
It turned out that of all the projects I’ve done with my preschool to date; this has been one of her favorites. I hope your preschool child or students love it as well.
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