Kids often put the sun in one of the top corners of a picture they make. It’s usually a circle with lines coming out like spokes of a wheel. But if you make the sun—all by itself—the subject of an art project, you will see much different results.
The sun is a unique subject for an art project because nobody really looks at it (for good reason). Why is that important? —Because it encourages invention. Your child knows the sun is there, but she has to rely on her idea of it.
What to do:
Unlike typical art projects, this one involves making a picture of the same thing several times in a row—three or four times is sufficient, but play it by ear. You know the signs of boredom vs enthusiasm. Why make several pictures in a row? —Because your child will begin to understand that the appearance of the sun can take many different forms. Its appearance depends entirely on the artist’s expression of ideas. That’s a powerful understanding once your child begins to apply it.
For supplies, use whatever materials you typically use: crayons, pencils, markers or colored pencils. You might want to save the paints for a later date, so you can work up to them.
Start by announcing that you will be making pictures of the sun. Be sure you are sitting next to your child. “Modeling” is an important aspect of this project. What does that mean? It means that once you get started, your child may copy your ideas.
What? Doesn’t that rob my child of her creativity? Chances are, when it comes to the sun, it was already stolen. The fact that your child makes a circle with spokes coming out of it is evidence. She didn’t see that image in the sky. She copied it from somewhere. But why stick with that template? The sun can be anything. That’s what you are going to show your child.
If your child copies your ideas, that’s fine. You will soon find that you are moving in different directions with your own ideas. Now the fun part is comparing your pictures.
If your child does not copy your ideas, that’s fine too. The process of comparing your pictures will demonstrate the abundance of possibilities when it comes to making pictures of the sun.
Here are a few simple ideas for your picture of the sun:
1. Use a red crayon to make a spiral in the middle of your paper. Now put a circle around the spiral, and a circle around that circle. Loosely go over all your lines with a an orange crayon, and again with a yellow crayon in order to create a shimmering effect.
2. Use any colors: draw a small circle in the middle of your paper. Put three short lines straight up and down to the left of the circle. Put short three lines straight up and down to the right of the circle. Now turn your paper sideways. Again put three lines to the left of the circle and three lines to the right. Loosely go over all your lines with a yellow crayon.
3. Aztec sun: use triangles, circles, squares and straight lines to make patterns around a central shape. Use any colors. Repeat the pattern.
Make sure you compare your works of art as you go and when you’re finished. This will help to establish a creative environment rich with ideas. The positive reinforcement will also give your child greater confidence and willingness to take chances. Lastly, when you’re finished, make sure to mark the date on the back of the works. If you return to this activity periodically, you’ll have a wonderful catalog of art works showing the progression and variety of inventive expression.