What you need:
- 1 canvas (stretched is best) - smaller size
- 1 canvas (stretched is best) - same or larger for adult use
- 1 roll of painter's masking tape
- Arylic paints or similar paints suitable and appropriate for the age of the child (avoid oils as they take too long to dry and the child does not get to enjoy the painting as soon)
- Plastic sheeting (to protect paint surface)
- Old shirt or painter's smock
- Brushes (2-3 sizes)
- Paper or foam plate to hold dabs of paint
Prepare area for painting (an old table, floor areas, etc.), cover with plastic. Take canvas and place tape across each canvas to create 'panes' by laying 1-4 horizontal and vertical strips. They can be spaced evenly or irregularly placed.
Encourage the child to think about what colors they want to use. Show them how to create a 'wash' ( at the top edge use straight undiluted paint), drag the brush down (dry) until the paint thins on the canvas. It is alright if the undercolor shows through. Softly blend down the heavy strong paint creating a slight washed out look. Show them how using one strong color produces a vibrant look. If using arcylics, you can also show how a heavy coating adds texture and dimension as well. Caution: it will take a little longer to dry.
As sections dry, second coats of highlighting can be added (dots, stripes, flowers, etc.). Some children may whizz through in 20 minutes and others take 2 hours to complete. Let the child's inner creativity and artistic vision drive the experience. As much as you may desparately want to "correct" something resist the urge. Demonstrate instead and let them copy the technique or idea if they desire.
Wait a while for the work to dry and ta-da!!!! Original art!!!!