The Escape! Mini artwork wanders

  
     
   
The mini paintings got out and they are enjoying their freedom! Be on the lookout! One might end up under your tree. 

Each mini is an original watercolor painting by award winning artist, K. Ryan Henisey. Watercolor minis are each 5×5 inches square and are available framed and unframed starting at $25. Commissions are welcome starting at $35. 

Watercolor Workshop: 4 Tips to Get Started

Let’s get started.

Taking a Leap

Watercolors are a dynamic medium filled with brightness and expression. They may seem daunting at first, but as a teaching tool (whether to children or in your own creative practice), watercolors present opportunities to practice short and long term planning, patience, and critical thinking. As we progress through the workshops, I will show you how to develop paintings using this expressive medium. These lessons are intended for beginning watercolorists and by parents and teachers with children in small groups.

Before you begin, you will need 3 things:

Brushes

You don’t need a million brushes to get started, just one. When playing and practicing, I use a small round brush. Play around with your brushes and recreate some of the art below. Different shapes and sizes will produce different results: play with the brushes you have.

Paints & Clear Water

Prep your paints. Whether using artist grade tubes or children’s flats, you will want all of your paints and fresh rinsing water prepared and at hand before you begin. Watercolor relies on wetness to move and control pigment; stopping mid-image to mix new paints will show as blotchy marks in the final image.

Paper

I prefer to use a heavy weight, watercolor paper. These papers are heavy enough not to curl when wet applications are laid down. For lightweight papers, prepare them by wetting both sides and stretching with a gum tape. Allow the paper to fully dry again.

With your brushes, paints and paper prepared, you are ready to begin.

1. Play

Art and creativity are about play. Allow the inner child to explore the new medium. Enjoy the freedom you have and start painting geometric shapes and figures. With just a few strokes, I made these alligators and this strange dodo-bird.

The point, especially when teaching children, is to explore and make mistakes. Limit yourself to a single color to avoid muddying the images and use scraps of paper cut into strips and squares.

This is practice. Let it be free and fun. Get to know the medium with an open heart and paint what pops into your head. There are no mistakes here.

gators
Just a few quick flips of the brush to make these little gators. You try it with a circle and a few quick swipes.
Dodo
Fill up a whole page. It doesn’t matter what you paint, just fill the whole thing. Try different amounts of paint to water and see what happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Experiment

Try different types of applications. Apply colors to dry paper and to wet paper and see what happens. Try smudging wet paints or use varying amounts of pressure or paint on your brush. Mix colors!

There are many ways to have fun when experimenting with watercolor paints. A few key points: don’t over-mix your colors and always rinse and blot your brush between colors. A little blue in a lot of yellow still makes green.

IMG_9085
This paint was still wet when I painted the leaf.
This paint was dry before i painted the leaf.
This paint was dry before i painted the leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9081
Paint a cloud and then swipe it away. Looks like rain to me.
IMG_9079
Change the color on your brush to create a rainbow effect. Remember to rinse and pat your brush before lifting a new color. Let the colors mix on the page rather than in the pot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Practice

Set aside a few hours each week to practice (one hour a day is a good rule of thumb for beginners; one hour twice a week is a good amount for grades 3-8 in the US).

Talent isn’t innate; it comes from the application of knowledge and skill. An athlete does not gain the muscles of his sport by sitting around; the same is true for an artist. Spend time developing your craft. As you practice, you will gain confidence and proficiencies in hand and style.

IMG_9089
Vary the paint and wetness of your brush.
Mix the colors of your wash.
Mix the colors of your wash.
The top is a wet wash, allowing the colors to mix down the water naturally. The bottom is a dry wash, running the brush over a dry page. Skies and mountains are dark on top.
The top is a wet wash, allowing the colors to mix down the water naturally. The bottom is a dry wash, running the brush over a dry page. Skies and mountains are dark on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Celebrate

Praise your work. Whether you share it with a close friend, the world on social media, or hang it on the fridge for yourself, it is important that you celebrate your progress. When you have a next new favorite, share that.

Creativity is infinite. Believe in your ability to grasp it and it will fill your heart with boundless joy and energy.

Celebrate yourself with a big fat star!
Celebrate yourself with a big fat star!
Or mix a wash with some quick strokes to set the fireworks ablaze.
Or mix a wash with some quick strokes to set the fireworks ablaze.

 

 

 

 

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SS CoverDreamy Desert CoverExplore more of my watercolors and share them with the kids in Sleepy Safari and Dreamy Desert, for your e-reading devices. The land of dreams is filled with happy, restful creatures in these sleepy-time readers.

 

Settle the Children with a Sleepy Safari

K. Ryan Henisey, teacher and award winning artist, reads Sleepy Safari, the first in a series of sleepy-time readers for young families.

Rather than ducks or sheep, count a safari for your sleep.

The happy animals on Sleepy Safari rest under a magical sky of smiling stars. This bedtime book is great for children of all ages and encourages restful sleep.

Read along with the gentle rhyming ballad to induce happy dreams.

Download Sleepy Safari to Your Device

Slumbering Sea, Book 3 by Award Winning Artist

Slumbering Sea is live in the iTunes and Kindle stores! Get your copy now!

Page1

Come with me to the very edge, 
Where dreams go running free, 
And sleep within the turquoise arms 
Of the Slumbering Sea. 

Put your children to sleep as the stars come out above a gentle rolling sea. The happy animals in this downloadable e-book rest beneath the fading light and inspire restful sleep among children of any age. Smiling stars and friendly, familiar animals smile throughout the pages as they cuddle close in their natural habitat.

The gentle, watercolor illustrations and lyrical ballad are perfect for soothing your little one into the land of dreams. Slumbering Sea is the third book in a six book, sleepy-time series. It is preceded by Dreamy Desert and Sleepy Safari.

Books

Get Creative with Medusa!

Draw or paint along with veteran school teacher and award winning artist, K Ryan Henisey. As Ryan draws and paints an illustration of Medusa, he inspires with messages of creativity and achievement. Parents, teachers and kids alike will delight at this introduction to creativity.

Parents, Teachers and children, please enjoy these videos. Feel free to share across your own platforms.

Videos

On the Eighth Night of Halloween

Page 14

On the eighth night of Halloween my mom-ster spooked me with eight zombies walking…

seven trolls-a-trampling, six ghosts-a-haunting, Five Vampire Bats! four grinning pumpkins, three grunting goblins, two black cats and a skull for my skeleton tree.

On the thirteenth night of Halloween my mom-ster frightened me with thirteen dancing devils...

Tonight is the eighth night of Halloween! I’m celebrating with my new, fully illustrated children’s book, The Thirteen Nights of Halloween.

I think this is the scariest of all the nights! Zombies are spoooOoooky! Although my friend thinks that the ghosts are the creepiest.

Happy Reading!

 

On the Seventh Night of Halloween

Seventh Night

 

On the seventh night of Halloween my mom-ster scared me with seven trolls-a-trampling… six ghosts-a-haunting, Five Vampire Bats! four grinning pumpkins, three grunting goblins, two black cats and a skull for our skeleton tree.

On the thirteenth night of Halloween my mom-ster frightened me with thirteen dancing devils...

I’m counting down The Thirteen Nights of Halloween with my new, fully illustrated children’s book. I hope you’ll join me and add a little Booooooooooooo! to your books!

Happy Halloween!