Mary Blair Abstract Valentine's Art Project

Mary Blair Abstract Art



Who says all Valentine’s Day art projects require a red heart? This abstract art project with seasonal red, pink and purple colors is based on the cover art in Brigette Barrager’s beautifully illustrated book, Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire.

Experimenting with oil pastel resist never gets old for students. In fact, the added component of paper collage make stash a very engaging project for grades 3 (eight years) and up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– 12″ x 9″ watercolor paper

– Liquid watercolors (red, magenta, purple, yellow)

– White oil pastel or thick white crayon (Faber-Castell wax crayons are perfect)

– Medium brush

– Colored paper (glitter paper, etc)

– Glue & Scissors

Here’s what to do:

Start with a 12″ x 9″ watercolor paper, liquid watercolors and a white oil pastel.

Using the white oil pastel, draw a horizontal line across the bottom of the paper about 2-3″ from the bottom. Then, starting on the left hand side, draw a vertical line to form the first “building”. The line doesn’t have to touch the top of the paper, but it could.

Draw the next “building”, thinking about the drawing as layers of rectangles, squares and other shapes.

Insert drawings of hearts, semi-circles, triangles, etc.

Make sure to press hard with the oil pastel so that when the watercolor is applied, the pastel will prevent the spread of the paint. You’ll want a thick, heavy line.

Use pinks, violet, red, orange and yellow paint to create variations of warm, intense colors. the more water you add to the paint, the less vibrant or lighter it’ll be.

Allow to dry before moving onto the next steps…

Gather some colorful papers (glitter, painted or craft papers) in similar colors and arrange in trays for kids to select.

Place some scissors, paper punches and even a few pre-punched paper shapes like circles in a tray. Show kids how to place small and large shapes inside the painted shapes as well as overlapping or even extending off the edge of the paper.

This is a chance for kids to recognize that they can control the balance of the composition by adding contrasting elements.

If there is a section that looks “heavy”, perhaps with a large solid shape, consider what kind of shape opposite to this one would be interesting.

You can add paint markers, crayons and even oil pastels to the mix for more detail options.

mary Blair abstract art Valentines Project for Kids

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  • Eleanor

    So much fun to see you doing live lessons via FB !
    Thank you for reaching into little art-hearts everywhere !

    • Patty

      Thanks! I try to go live every Thursday at 3:30pm Pacific time 🙂

  • Cary

    Thanks for sharing

  • difell

    love it, thanks!

  • Jill Suzanne Hatcher

    This lesson looks absolutely wonderful!! So bright and cheerful, guidelines and yet lots of freedom, abd the chance for each student make their own choices of colors and designs!! Thank you so much for video tutorial and for this awesome project, Patty!! I love Mary Blair’s artwork and the book about her is absolutely fantastic! I love the colorful illustrations and the luscious writing. I’m so excited to create my own version and then do it with my students. I’m sure they’ll love it, too!!!

    • Patty

      Thanks Suzanne!

  • Alisha Claypool

    I absolutely love!!! However, facebook videos are blocked at our school 🙁 Any chance of hosting the video somewhere else? <3

    • Patty

      Sorry Alisha!

      For our free videos, we use Facebook but we are trying to add them to Youtube as well.
      In our membership, we host on a private server so that our members videos can be shown in the school 🙂

  • jennifer s

    This project can be named…”Paul Klee at Disney’s It’s a Small World” (designed by Mary Blair.

  • becky johns

    So glad you did a lesson inspired by Mary Blair. The children relate to her through the Small World ride in Disneyland and this was a fun take on her style. Great lesson. The book is fabulous. I gave it to my daughter for Christmas.

  • Theresa Dominique

    Hmmmm. My third graders had a hard time seeing the white pastel on white paper. I may need to switch to a different oil pastel color. I so love the white of the lines though on my teaching sample!!!

  • Tangie Rumbold

    I have wanted to share Mary Blair with the students ever since I bought this book. Thank you so much for creating this lesson and thank you to my guardian angel who knows I need help this time of year?

  • Silvia Silva

    I live in Venezuela, Beautiful. My son is an autistic child and he need help for draw.

  • Tangie Rumbold

    Love this project! Thank you

  • Emily

    Would love to get the Mary Blair Abstract Art handout

    • Bethany

      Hi Emily, if you click on the download button and add your name and email address we will send the lesson directly to your inbox. Be sure to check your Spam or Junk folders to make sure it didn’t end up there. We have found that both the Chrome or Safari browsers work best so be sure to try using one of those. Enjoy.

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