Painting Around the Hole

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After my post on painting tiny, MaryAnn Kohl suggested (on facebook) the idea of offering paper with a hole cut out of the middle. I did, and Maia's been loving this new format! Here's one of her paintings on poster board with a circle cut out of the middle. I thought the progression and layering of crayon drawings, then paint, was interesting.

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Try this with your kids!

Maia's done five drawings now (two with paint) with holes in the middle and keeps asking to do more. I use a bowl to draw the circles on the posterboard and a cup for 8×11" paper, then just cut out with scissors. She's done one with a triangle, too, and who knows what shape she'll ask for next. I don't know what it is about the hole, but it has inspired some crazy creativity in our house!


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  1. Barbara Zaborowski says

    Have you tried making the hole off-center? Or making several small holes? Or a large circle and a small one? Or making the paper some random, flowing shape with a perfect square cut-out somewhere in it?
    The possibilities are endless.

  2. Michele de Jesus says

    I just LOVE to see all the wonderful art projects your child does! So great to see her process and enjoyment in these photos. What a lucky girl to have a mom so devoted to nurturing her creativity. She’s blessed. I don’t know how you find the time with 2 little ones??? What an inspiration to us moms! I’m kind of an overwhelmed mom of a 2 year old boy afraid of more messes and a little too perfectionist, methodical, and lazy for my own good. I’m slowly reading Young at Art and a bit intimidated although much appreciative of its insights. Been slowly finding green alternatives to conventional children’s art supplies but comically frustrated with the poor quality and mixability of some “naturally-derived” paints (Clementine Art’s “blue” (dark indigo really!) and yellow do not make green, what!?). Oh well, at least my child seems to be tasting materials less and less. Anyhow I read your blog everyday and am always inspired and grateful and am learning to let go so my little guy can explore more art! Thank you!

  3. says

    So many great ideas, Barbara! Thank you! Off-center we’ve done, but not those others. Can’t wait to try them. Do you do this with your preschool students?

  4. says

    Michele – Please don’t be overwhelmed! Easier to say than do, I know. But just do what you can, when you can. Young at Art is an awesome book, full of information, but I find that she says “never” and “always” a lot which can be intimidating. Realize that you don’t have to know all about children’s art in order to share art with your son! And everyone has different view points of how it is best done anyway! Personally, I take a laid-back approach. Art is good. Don’t get so caught up in the details that you don’t offer art experiences.

  5. says

    Hey, maybe circles on are my mind, but this makes me think of the mandala class I just took. In the class we learned that the circle is an ancient, even primeval shape. It is supposed to be very inspiring and telling (if you know how to interpret what you do with them) to work with circles. anyway, the circles made me think of this. I love your creativity and that of your lovely daughter.

  6. Barbara Zaborowski says

    Yes, Jean. I’ve done this and also given my kids paper with folds in it to paint. It’s difficult to describe the folds (easier to show, but, oh well.) For instance, I’ll fold a corner in and then back out again, so that just a thin strip of paper is hidden. Or I’ll fold in one whole side and then fold it a couple of more times (in and out) so that there are several strips of paper hidden. Then the kids paint it. When it’s dry we unfold it and there are white stripes in the paint (paper that didn’t get painted.)

  7. annette standrod says

    this is a great twist on mandalas. mandalas are my faborite way to draw. it is hard for me to fill a rectangle sheet of paper but for some reason filling in a circle is easy. i kept a mandala journal for a while. it is neat to look back on it and see how the art reflected what was going on in my life.

  8. says

    You inspired me to try this at preschool this week – I put up round paper with a small hole in the middle on the easel and the kids really responded differently. We kept it up for 3 days – lots of big circle motions and also fine brushwork. Thanks for the idea!