This project is a meaningful walk down memory lane — and embraces wishes for the future
Holiday giving can be most rewarding when it extends beyond shopping to include gifts made by our loved ones’ hands. This season, cozy up with your family to create these special, hand-drawn watercolor portraits that you can frame in a compact disc case or traditional picture frame.
This is a wonderful project for elementary school children. They can make a family portrait using source materials such as photos, do a fine line drawing and then add watercolor for a beautiful, one-of-a-kind gift for the holidays. This project also includes your child’s three wishes — one for the world, one for the family and one for themselves. Gift it to friends and loved ones, or save it for your own home!
- Photographs of the people and pets in your family you want to include
- One paper to watercolor on that is cut to 3.5-inch square
- One paper to write on that is cut to 3.5-inch square
- One decorative paper cut to 4 ¾-inch square (if you want to glue the image and wishes on one larger paper, then cut that paper to a desired size — one that can fit a standard frame)
- Pencil for sketching
- Thin Sharpie to trace your pencil image
- Watercolor pencils
- CD case or picture frame
- Glue stick
- On a piece of paper, sketch out the people and pets in your family. You can sketch their full figures or just their faces.
- Trace the sketch with a thin Sharpie.
- Using either watercolor pencils (my preferred choice) or watercolors, paint your picture.
- In a notebook, write out your three wishes — one for the world, one for your family and one for yourself. Once satisfied, copy them onto the cut paper.
- Glue the painting on the decorative side of your paper.
- Glue the wishes on the back side, or underneath if doing the one-sided option.
- Put into the CD case or frame.
Stamping the paper:
Take a foam plate and cut out your desired shape. Draw into it with a pencil. This can be used to decorate the paper. Use some water-based relief ink or water-based paint to ink the foam. Place it face down and rub with your finger.
You have made a memory gift for your family!
Cathy Weiss is an award-winning artist and educator based in L.A. Known for her large installation pieces done in woodcut and mixed media, she also inspired children for more than 30 years by integrating art into her curriculum to help students find their voices. cathyweissink.com