Join the conversation


Kids Get Arty – Project 2

For this Kids Get Arty challenge I decided to let Molly pick the artist she wanted to learn about and be inspired by – Hockey or Modigliani. After looking at images I had pulled together of their work on my laptop she chose Italian born Modigliani (1884-1920), no surprise in that most of his paintings are of ‘girls’!! Modigliana (nicknamed Modi by us because neither of us could pronounce it properly) was an expert in abstract portraiture, a bitter rival of Picasso and, along with Van Gogh, is considered to be one of the most regarded of modern artists.

Looking through his vast body of work on the screen we traced with our fingers the same characteristics in all his work:
– long slender oval heads, often slanted
– stretchy swan-like necks
– droopy shoulders
– flat mask-like faces
– and use of large, flat areas of colour

Molly also spotted that everyone in his paintings were ‘posing’ for their portraits so she needed a posing sitter too, and who better than her favourite doll ‘Grace’. She had also spotted in his work than some of the ladies had their hair draped to one side, so Grace wore her luscious locks the same way too :)

Jump on to read and see more…

I hung two A3 black sheets of paper side by side on the kitchen doors, one each, and step by step I guided her through. Following my lead she started with pencil and drew a stretchy oval for the head, then the long bendy neck and circle shoulder, once she was happy with the pencil lines she went over them with chalk.

Limited by the chalk colours in the box we started ‘colouring in’ – the biggest challenge was to get her to stand back from the page and avoid leaning on it as she worked so that the chalk didn’t get smudged. Chalk is very fast to cover large areas so keeping her engaged to the end wasn’t a problem – and the joy of using chalk was that if she was half way colouring in an area and suddenly didn’t like the colour! she was able to rub most of it away with kitchen roll and go over it again with a different colour (as happened with Grace’s dress!!!). The chalk colours are so gorgeous and bright I adore the blue so we used that for the largest area of flat colour.

So… when she had covered her page, her tshirt and the floor in chalk dust we washed up and took out black paint to trace over her original drawing lines on the portrait – doing these heavy black lines helped her drawing ‘stand out’ and defined the painting a little bit more.  I love her new way of drawing noses, all nostrils :) and what about the collagen-filled luscious lips WOW – although she wasn’t happy that the red chalk wasn’t RED!

Well after completing this challenge she still may not be able to pronounce Modigliana’s name but she has learned a new way of painting portraits, not to be afraid to take her paintings from edge to edge on the page and when looking at paintings to try and simplify the shapes and spot similarities to try and understand a painter’s style. Through this exercise she also learned some brush control – how much paint to have on the brush and that she didn’t have to lean and flatten the brush against the page to make a mark, she could paint her lines with the tip and then control the thickness of the line!

The ear was added after she was finished – she was horrified she forgotten it :-)

top left: Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne
top right: Portrait d’une Femme à la Cravate Noire
lower left: Portrait of Jeanne Sitting
lower right:
Portrait of Woman in Hat(Jeanne Hebuterne in Large Hat), 1917


My Instagrams

Join the fun with hashtags

I'm a craft writer for

Featured On:

badge-craft-gossip badge-craftgawker
afkc_featured_on badge-crafty-crow
badge-small-for-big badge-colour-me-there

Anorak Magazine
Handmade Christmas Magazine
Sunday Telegraph UK, ST Kids Magazine
Irish Country Magazine
Homespun Magazine
Zero to Two: Book of Play
Handmade Winter


MollyMooCrafts is filled with creative DIY projects for children and their moms, craft tutorials, handmade toys, handmade gifts, decor ideas, everything I love and much much more!
Follow me on