Monday, January 13, 2014

Painting with Noodlebug

Noodlebug and I sometimes like to go to our local coffee shop on the weekend for warm beverages.  Since it is located downtown, we tend to go for a walk afterwards and look in the shop windows. In the window of our local independent bookstore was an original painting of Pete the Cat by James Dean.  Noodlebug decided that he had a burning need to paint a picture of Pete the Cat.

We grabbed our Michael's coupon and headed to the store. I let Noodle pick out colors of cheap acrylic craft paint to use.  He begged me for a real canvas.  And only a LARGE real canvas would do. Luckily, Michael's had a five-pack of 16 x 20 canvases on sale for $9.99. I figured a $2 canvas would be perfect for this project.

I am the type of person who gets inspiration from  looking at another picture.  I think Noodle is the same type of person. We went onto my computer and I showed him lots of pictures of Pete the Cat.  He chose this one to copy:

(image source)
We recently took a class at the Schulz Museum that taught us how to draw using shapes.  I tried to get Noodle to look at the picture in terms of shapes.  I had him sketch a picture of Pete with a pencil first.  It was hard for him to get the scale.  There was a lot of canvas to fill!  Next, I set him to work painting the background. To make the paint go further, I mixed it with some basic medium.  Then, we started with Pete's head.  I told him to think of Pete's head as a football.  Then, he put the ears.  The ears were a bit narrow at first so we looked at the original and talked about whether Pete had wide ears or narrow ears.  At times, Noodle would get frustrated when his painting didn't look EXACTLY like the original. When he had trouble getting the shape right, I would help him flesh out the edges or I would make a mark for width so he would know how far to paint.  Then, Noodle painted the body.  I helped him with placement of the feet.  His first attempt at Pete's tail really frustrated him.  I painted over the part he didn't like and he tried again.  Then, he did the arm.  I suggested making a roundish circle on the end for Pete's paw.  He asked me to do the handle of the mug so I did.  He did the cup and the hot chocolate and the steam. I added a little white to the top of the mug since Noodle had the beverage going all the way to the top. Next, we did the eyes. I told him to use the football shape again. Start with a frown on top and then connect it with a smile on bottom. He did the iris and pupils.  He had trouble with the nose so I added one edge to make it more triangular.  He did the whiskers.  His first attempt got him really frustrated.  It kind of reminded me of Don Music on "Sesame Street."

After some major artistic tears and tantrums, I painted over the whiskers and we took a break.  After lunch, we came back to the painting and he finished the whiskers and signed his work.  I would say that 80% of this painting is his work:

We have four more canvases so I think he may be inspired to make more!  It was fun and frustrating and a very good learning experience for both of us.

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