Almost any piece of art can be read as a self portrait of the artist if you are clever enough to see the resemblence. In fact a hallmark of great art is the highly individual personality of the artist.

This is an example of a simple lesson that is charming  and can also be revealing, if you know what you are looking for. 

Your class members or even a few children in your family paint a snowman based on the same easy lesson. The result can be  self portraits that offer insight to teachers and parents alike. 

The blue paper represents her small world and the snowman is herself.
Each picture can be a metaphor for that child's inner state. This would make a wonderful and original holiday card, if say, three children in a family each created a snowman and they were photographed together... maybe even the adults could get in on this!

Here you will see well balanced children centered in their world. Some who look at you and others who are too shy.

Another snowman who is holding on to the sides and wearing a big hat and struggling to maintain balance and yet is very happy. 

An unhappy snowman who doesn't seem to have enough ground to stand on. 

There is even one who seems to big for the space. 

Each of these snow men represents quite accurately the sense these children had of themselves in their immediate world as happy, sad, balanced or in need of boundaries. 

To try this lesson, first your beginners must know how  to draw circles and squares and lines and triangles, otherwise it will be the struggle with shapes that dominates the painting.

The make a sample. So they can see just what you are asking them to do. Don't worry this won't influence their individual expression.

When they have mastered the idea of basic  shapes, have them paint. 

First, the snow at the bottom and three stacked circles... bottom, middle and top and large medium and small. Then snow flakes all around.
Let dry.

Black paint for the hat, first a square then the brim. Then with a small brush sticks for arms and coal for eyes. Let dry.

Finally, orange craypas for the carrot nose.

Finally, you might  to ask your beginner to describe her painting. If it is by a family member write the description on the back for a memory.


I have saved things that are either useful, meaningful or much loved on the theory that a good book or toy is timeless and will be enjoyed by all children.  I had two wonderful boys who have become wonderful men so I hoped for wonderful grandchildren. My wish is coming true!

We've saved many favorite books such as The Monster at the End of this Book, Where the Wild Things Are,  One Fish Two Fish, Little Blue and Little Yellow and In the Forest. I was right, they are a hit with the current generation and later, there will be all of Harry Potter, Choose Your Own Adventure and Amphagory.

There are some stuffed animals and a Little Tikes Doll House with lots of people, a van and play yard equipment that has already become a favorite. In fact I found a few pieces on E-bay that had gone missing during the house's tenure at my school.

I even have Ginny dolls from my childhood sixty years ago that I'm sure my grand daughter will love.  I had boys so they have been tucked safely away in the attic for sixty years and are now impossible to find or at least beyond my budget. And then there's my ball collection and school room wooden blocks. All these toys and books have been well loved. They stay at our house and are more special because of it.

This highchair is 32 years old and was first used by my oldest son, then ten years later his brother. I lugged it around from pillar to post, through thick and thin, for thirty years and this week I glued all the pieces back together. That was such an ordeal that I neglected to take pictures. Just imagine a pile of sticks! and me swearing...

 Finally, I gave it two coats of beautiful green paint. 

Now, it fits perfectly in our dining room as if it was meant to be there.  

Well, it was...

 And here it is being used by my grand daughter.  It looks perfect in the dining room, as if we're expecting very young company! I'm sure it will be around for another thirty years! Her uncle made her raisin toast... and later she played with clay. 

My vision has been realized and I'm very satisfied.

Save the best stuff... everyone loves it even more 25 years later.


I think that taking a class outside to experience the day is a wonderful thing. Imagine you have been avoiding the cold and wet weather. Cabin fever sets in. Why not embrace the weather, why not make it into art and writing. Increase your expressive verbal and visual vocabulary. Why not do this for every the  seasons, people will look forward to it! Record sounds and find a way to play them.  Make fabulous bulletin boards.

If your students' writing is illustrated by a spectacular cooperative mural, people will want to read their work.  Pictures and words will work together to fully communicate with your audience. This cooperative mural shows a class effort AND interesting individual expression. Murals are like a movie, a way for many people to appreciate an idea at the same time. Conversations take place and a group experience happens in front of a mural that doesn't happen elsewhere.

You can find my reproducible 4 Seasons E-Packet at TPT. There are 30 drawing lessons for all 4 seasons. Pass out the bird lessons and get started.

In DRAW! 4 Seasons there is a how to for creating a mural for every level Pre-K to 6. Try this activity in any season. 

To get started - go to TPT and find this free download - 


Then visit beginnerswork.com for lots of ways to use drawing to enhance learning in your classroom or home. Become ARTiculate!