On August 19, we had our second annual Art at the Market activity at the Belmont Farmers’ Market. It was a big hit last year and we were looking forward to doing it again. Market organizers put up the tent in the center of the market, so we were visible from all angles. Jeanne Mooney and her daughter, Frances, set up EVERYTHING else: chairs, tables, and supplies. They also brought their own special brand of enthusiasm and joy. Here’s a big shout-out of THANKS to each of them!
We again provided paper and a variety of mediums: crayons, cray-pas, colored pencils, and markers. It’s pretty easy to encourage kids to participate in art activities. Many of the adults got into the act, too. Children know immediately what to do with the materials. They need little prompting, few suggestions, and often just pick up their tool of choice and begin drawing. We had numerous props on the table, like eggplant, tomatoes, apples, and corn; plus, we had countless props surrounding us at the market itself, including the shoppers 😉 !
What struck me this year was how imaginative children are. I was so inspired by them. A couple of girls started drawing this fantasy-land of castles and mushrooms (or were they lollipops?), which was very exciting. It prompted me to draw my own castle. One boy sat down with a familiar “hello” and began drawing a delightful scene with really cool bumble bees and butterflies. Of course, that got me drawing a B-I-G butterfly. Like several “returnees” from last year’s activity, he simply picked up right where he left off from a year ago.
We were active all afternoon. At times, a small pod of children would sit right down and begin their creations. Lots of parents gave us feedback, saying how great they thought this activity was. One girl told us that her dad saw the activity listed in the paper and was excited to bring his daughter to the market that day because he knew she would have a good time. How wonderful to hear such stories!
All photos by Jeanne & Frances Mooney.
Art Supplies and Where to Buy
Cray-Pas — a “can’t miss” art tool. They are a soft, creamy, non-toxic oil pastel with awesome saturation power and gorgeous colors. Blending will build complex colors with more depth. You can buy them in sets of round sticks.
Sakura Cray-Pas Junior Artist Oil Pastels
Sakura Cray-Pas Expressionist Oil Pastel Sets
Colored Pencils — terrific for all sorts of drawing, these offer control and accuracy. Pencils are available in a wide range of colors in a variety of sets, and there are also larger sticks. Blending can be achieved easily, but be sure not to bear down with too much pressure with the wax content types because that will create a “haze”.
Prismacolor Colored Pencils — wax-based; my all-time favorite!
Koh-I-Noor Polycolor Dry Color Drawing Pencils — oil-based
Crayons — I think mostly everyone is familiar with the Crayola brand that we grew up with, and that’s what we had at Art at the Market. There are jumbo sizes for small children. But there are also other kinds of crayons you might want to try out: water soluble, which behaves like watercolor when the stick is dipped into water, or wax-based, which is like oil pastel in consistency.
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Artists’ Crayons — water soluble
Cretacolor AquaStics — water soluble
Caran d’Ache Neocolor I Artists’ Crayons — wax-based
Conte Crayons — wax-based
Paper — There are soooo many different kinds of paper that I’m only going to mention 2 low-cost options: Newsprint (which we used at our activity) and Construction Paper. If you and/or your child has an interest in drawing, you might want to get a sketchbook to carry with you. My preference is a 9″ wide x 12″ high wirebound sketchbook, with the binding on the long side. I usually go with the Canson or Strathmore brand. It’s also nice to use a smaller size in case you are hiking.
http://www.artistcraftsman.com/ — storefront in Central Square, Cambridge
http://www.dickblick.com/ — storefront in Kenmore Square, Boston (near Fenway Park)
http://www.pearlpaint.com/ — sadly, the Central Square, Cambridge, storefront closed; order online instead
http://www.rhinestones.com/playtimecrafts.htm — storefront in Arlington Center
http://www.utrechtart.com/ — storefront in Cambridge (between Harvard & Central Squares)