Wildflower art
Photos by Aimee Olsen Cox

This past week, I was able to take my kids up to Cedar Breaks National Monument. It’s the perfect time of year for this because St. George is a perfect oven, and the mountains are a literal breath of fresh air. Our timing was more impeccable than I imagined, however, because this week was also the peak of their annual Wildflower Festival. Oh, what glorious sights filled our eyes! We were absolutely in awe of the beauty around us, and we tried to memorize the names of every flower we saw. As I type this, I can give you one – Elkweed. We’ll blame it on my age.

Wildflower artThis adventure is the inspiration for the art project this week. On the way home, we just wanted more flowers in our lives. Unfortunately, the environment in which we live just doesn’t allow them to bloom all year long. We are also forever looking for more fun in our lives. So the children and I decided to combine these two desires this week and see what happened. We are making our very own wildflower art. The goal is to have fun and explore with something new.

Here is what you will need:

—Silk flowers.

—Paint.

—Paper.

—Paper towels or napkins.

—Bowls or plates.

—Tablecloth.

Wildflower artThese supplies will vary in cost depending on how fancy you want to make this. We got our silk flowers for super cheap. We’re talking thrift-store cheap. Did you know you could do that? You can. So these can range anywhere from $1 on up. The paint we used is the inexpensive tempera paint that I have had for a while that we still haven’t finished. A small bottle is about $2–$3. We used the multimedia paper. You can buy this in a tablet for around $10, but it lasts for quite a while. We still haven’t gone through ours. Paper towels and napkins are something that we just use in our home as are the bowls and plates. So this project really can be as inexpensive or as pricey as you would like it to be.

Set up

Before you begin, be certain you cover your work surface, especially if you are working with kids. You just never know what crisis can occur with a child involved in the project. They certainly bring fun, but they also bring an element of the unexpected. After that, separate the silk flowers from one another. You are going to use these to dip into the paint, so you may want to leave them attached to the stems. I trimmed some of the stem off with scissors, but it’s up to you to leave it however you desire. Now you can put the paint onto the plate or into the separate bowls.

Wildflower artMake your flowers

Get your paper or give your child the paper, and just begin. My children needed no instruction because this project was one of their own creation. They just started dipping their flowers into the paint and sort of stamping the papers with them. They stamped them repeatedly sometimes. One of my children would do one big stamp, and then swirl a flower. They just wanted to create their own wildflower paintings. I do want to note that you aren’t necessarily creating flowers with these paintings.

The wildflowers they kids created looked more like fireworks to me. They had fun, though. This project just sort of evolved. They had so much fun using the flowers for every part of the painting process. If your child really needs the flowers to end up looking like flowers, maybe you can just paint the tips of the silk flowers if you want to leave an imprint that resembles a flower more. There is another possibility that the kids came up with of using another piece of paper over the tops of several flowers and doing a sort of rubbing. Either way, there are many methods to using the silk flowers for your flower art. The most important part, though, was using the flowers to create this time. More wildflowers and fun in our lives is what we are looking for here.

Reflection

Wildflower artWhen the projects are through and either sitting in the sun or hanging to dry, my children always run away to tackle some other pressing matter of fun that is calling to them. When they do this, I look at their creations, and suddenly little pieces of them pop out at me. I see the order that my son with autism is always striving to create. I see the system he is always working to build. I see how once again the daughter I can never understand has shown me that she had a vision greater than my own. I can see her wisdom and the beauty she sees. I see the hunger for everything in my daughter who loves fun. I see her desire to have everything all at once. And I get it all from their wildflowers again.

Wildflower artArt is really just a reflection of ourselves. It’s a safe place for us to create something that tells the worlds a little bit about us if they take the time to look at it. I hope that you are enjoying doing these projects. If you are doing them with your children or grandchildren, I hope you are truly appreciating the trust they have in you by sharing this piece of themselves with you so regularly. It’s wonderful. We see the wildflowers peek out at us in such mass quantities only once a year, so we all appreciate them. But the treasure of our children’s art is shared so regularly, we sometimes take it for granted. I hope we can appreciate both.

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