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Activity: Create a Mosaic Painting

This activity is inspired by Alma Thomas’s painting Lunar Rendezvous—Circle of Flowers. Learn more about this painting, then get inspired to create your own colorful mosaic painting!

 

Alma Thomas, (1891 - 1978) Lunar Rendezvous, Circle of Flowers, 1969 Oil on canvas Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Alma Thomas, Lunar Rendezvous-Circle of Flowers, 1969, 50 × 48 in., acrylic on canvas, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

 

Look Closer:

Take a moment to look at this painting. Let your eyes follow the paint around. What types of colors and lines do you see? What shape do all the lines and colors make?

The artist Alma Thomas worked as a junior high school art teacher in Washington DC for over 35 years. She was involved in the Color Field movement. Artists in this movement created abstract paintings that explored color. Do you have a favorite color? Are there any colors that remind you of emotions, objects, or people? 

Lunar Rendezvous-Circle of Flowers was inspired by a photo of Earth taken by astronauts on the moon in 1969. Alma Thomas imagined herself on the moon looking down at Earth. This perspective is called bird’s-eye view. How does her painting remind you of our planet? 

Imagine yourself looking down at Earth from outer space. How would you paint it?

Thomas painted the vibrant colors and patterns to show what her flower garden looks like. How do these colors remind you of a garden? What flowers do you imagine are in this garden?

 

 

 

Activity: Create a Mosaic Painting

Materials Needed: 

  • Something to put paint on (i.e. thick paper, cardboard, canvas)
  • Acrylic paint or watercolor (primary colors, purple, white)
  • Palette (i.e. a disposable or reusable plate)
  • Cup of water
  • Small paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Homemade stamp (i.e. cork stoppers, jar lids, cardboard, scissors, glue, etc.)
  • Paper towels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

Step 1: This painting best fits in a square composition. Find a square base to paint on.

Step 2: Find some simple objects to make stamps from. Using a stamp will create a mosaic-like pattern in your painting. For my stamps, I cut out small, simple cardboard shapes such as a teardrop and a triangle. Then I glued my cardboard shapes on an old jar lid and a cork stopper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Use your paintbrush to mix the color for the center of the design and paint a small circle in the center of the paper. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Mix another paint color. Make enough paint to stamp your shape several times. You can directly apply the stamp to your paint palette or use your paintbrush to spread the paint onto your stamp. 

Step 5: Use your stamp to surround the center circle with small shapes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6: Repeat this process with each color as you work from the center out. When changing colors, wipe your homemade stamp with a dry paper towel and clean your paintbrush with water. 

Step 7: Stamp with paint until you’ve filled the whole paper with shapes. You will have a beautiful mosaic of bright, pure colors. Set aside your artwork and allow it to thoroughly dry.

This is a wonderful project to repeat with different types of homemade stamps. Hang your mosaic painting to make your home a colorful space!

 

Have fun exploring!

Written by Kim Ly, art instructor, Crystal Bridges.

 

Special thanks to our sponsors:

Youth and Family programming is supported in part by AMP Sign & Banner, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Juan, Marcy and Joaquin Camacho, The Coca-Cola Company, iHeart Media, JTH Productions, Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Pinnacle Car Services, Procter & Gamble, Gordon and Carole Segal, The Simmons Family Fund, and ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Education and Learning is supported in part by Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, The Northern Trust Company, Pamela and Wayne Garrison, Doug and Shelley McMillon, Jack and Melba Shewmaker Family, Neff and Scarlett Basore, Galen and Debi Havner, Lance and Sharon Beshore, Cardinal Four Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Harry Cornell, Cox Communications, Dorothy Hurt, J.M. Smucker Company, Kimberly-Clark, Nice-Pak Products, Inc., The Russell Berrie Foundation, Stephen and Claudia Strange, Felix and Margaret Wright.

 

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