Dream and Design!

Put on an architect’s hat. You might discover a place filled with patterns and colors.

A place for friends.

A place for a party — with pets.

Cartoon of dog drawn by student next to a photo of dog. Both are placed near a round table with paper "food."

A place for quiet thoughts.

Small figured drawn by student and placed in an "alcove" created by tiny boxes.

A place to dream.

The children at Carlin Springs Elementary School created these designs in after school art club. Materials included recycled boxes, plastic lids, ribbons, beads, pipe cleaners, colored papers, markers, stickers, tape, glue, paint, and photos.

Often we look at books from the public library for inspiration. For younger children, you might read Home by Carson Ellis or In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck. For older children, I bring out a book I bought many years ago, Houses by Piero Ventura.  We design by drawing, cutting, folding, and gluing until our homes are complete!

Student holding stickers and working with an assortment of materials on the table.

Outdoors At Last!

A sunny afternoon and we couldn’t resist drawing outside.

drawing of garden by first grader

I looked in my bookshelf and pulled out a copy of Nature Drawing by Clare Walker Leslie. Beyond the front door we sketched blue skies, puffy clouds, cherry trees and architecture — inspiration all around us.

drawing of school by first grader
Drawings by students at Carlin Springs Elementary School

Drawing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Drawings of Architecture by Children

This fall I’ve enjoyed drawing in the courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I’ve met several talented young people, and three of them allowed me to photograph their work. Jennifer’s drawing (on the left) captures the activity at the museum during the Big Draw Family Day, and Amelia’s (in the center) is a colorful design of her dream house. A third anonymous artist drew the geometry of the courtyard skylight in bold black and white.

The museum offers free drawing sessions in the Luce Foundation Center on Tuesday afternoons. The exhibit, The Civil War in American Art, recently opened and will be on display until April 28, 2013. Don’t miss it!

Sunday Snow

Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle | watercolor | copyright Liz Macklin 2012

Snow’s on its way — at least if you believe the weather report. On a snowy day several years¬† ago, I hopped on the subway and rode to the Smithsonian Castle. My friends and I wandered through gardens laced with frost and then toured exhibits of masks and elaborate figures made of wood, horn, beads and ceramics at the National Museum of African Art.

Just about any time, it’s easy to spend hours browsing the Smithsonian web site. If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t let the snow keep you inside. Grab mittens and a hat and take a trip to your favorite museum.

Jeonju

Entry at Gyeonggijeon
Entrance at Gyeonggijeon | watercolor | 30" by 38" | copyright Liz Macklin 2009

While traveling in Korea, I spent a day exploring the Hanok Village in Jeonju. It was an autumn afternoon and the sky and trees were the colors of painted silks. My daughter and I visited shops brimming with handmade papers, fabrics and ceramics. We wandered through the site of the historic hall at Gyeonggijeon. A scene at the gate inspired this watercolor.

This painting and others will be on display at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. until November 30.