Family Fun

Create Art Like Michelangelo

Donna Erickson, June 2017

What child doesn’t love to create art using colorful pencils, paper and pots of paint? As they grow, watch their enthusiasm blossom while they develop new techniques and get inspired by one another and the great masters. Yes, artists like Michelangelo.

Here’s a fun, unusual artsy activity to inspire your kids to consider art from an entirely new vantage point when they lie on their back under a chair and draw Michelangelo-style.

First, talk to your children about Michelangelo and how it took him years (1508-1512) to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. Thumb through pages in an art book from the library, or grab some images of the Sistine Chapel online to show them examples of one of the most famous painted interior spaces in the world.

Here’s where the kids shine. Explain how Michelangelo would lie on his back on a scaffold facing the ceiling, and paint and paint and paint. In dim light. In the heat. In the cold.

Then pull over a kitchen chair and say, “Artists, it’s your turn.”

Here’s the stuff you’ll need:

• Kitchen chair or bench with a flat seat, or low child’s play table

• Drawing paper

• Masking tape

• Markers, pencils and crayons

Here’s the fun:

Tape a sheet of paper to the bottom side of a chair.

Place markers, pencils and crayons within reach to the side of the chair, then prompt your child to wiggle under.

Now go ahead, reach up and create a masterpiece.

Parenting note: The kids will no doubt be enthralled. Somehow there’s a real intimacy between the art and the creator that doesn’t quite happen out in the open with a desk and chair. Try it. You’ll see,

Tip: If your kids want to use paints, here’s where you come in. Carefully wipe their brush off at the side of the paint container before they start painting the “ceiling.” Otherwise, they may be painting their heads!


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