Rorschach Window Hearts Art Project
By Tyler Clark Burke, tylerclarkburke.com
Feb 10, 2017
Life has been challenging and recently I had a serious case of the blues.
So I pulled out our brightest paint. I found our largest white paper. I knew I wanted to do something with the kids, but it had to be something mindlessly simple. I started drawing hearts, lots of hearts, and suddenly realized I wanted to (even strangely had to) cover the front windows of our house with painted hearts.
My kids are still too young to understand what’s happening in the world right now, but I figured they aren’t too young to feel the power of colour. The power of art-making. The importance of joy. The initial plan was to simply disrupt winter’s bleakness. I told the kids we were going to broadcast good vibes from the front porch (and they were thrilled).
My kids are still too young to understand what’s happening in the world right now, but I figured they aren’t too young to feel the power of colour. The power of art-making. The importance of joy.
We painted for about an hour and ended up with wall-to-wall hearts drying across the main floor. By the time we ran out of paint we had so many hearts we didn’t know what to do with them! The kids decided they wanted to bring some hearts to school the next day to pass around, and they also decided they wanted to make a few “get well” cards for some of their sick friends.
I realized the seemingly insignificant act of decorating our front windows was turning into something a lot more important. We started talking about love, empathy and kindness. We talked about spontaneity, art-making and gift-giving. We talked about decorating the front of our house not just for us, but for our neighbours too. We also set aside some hearts to make thank you cards down the road.
It was beautiful to see the kids excited about what they had created. I taped up all the hearts, and felt the magic too. I also finally got some work done!
That evening, the kids and I were standing in front of the house when two neighbours stopped by — at the appropriate distance — to tell us how much they loved the hearts. The kids were beaming with pride. A few hours later, my son Hugo stopped at the bottom of the stairs before bedtime and said, “Mommy, now we live in the heart house!” It was just what I needed to hear.
These hearts are a minor antidote to all the news — all the indecency — but they’re a great way to teach our young children how to share joy with others (and also remind us to make some room for a little arty self-care too). It’s also a perfect activity for Valentine’s Day!
You Will Need:
- Thick paint (IKEA sells incredibly vibrant acrylic paints and these are recommended, but any paint with a heavy body will work)
- Large white paper
1. Fold paper in half and draw half a heart so the folded edge represents the centreline of a full heart.
2. Cut out the half-heart through both layers of folded paper. Once done, open your paper to reveal your full heart. You can also just paint full sheets of paper, let them dry, then cut the hearts out from the full sheets (this is less messy, but it takes a bit longer to get to the heart part).
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3. Add lines, dots, squiggles and other paint marks to one side of your open heart.
4. Once done, fold the heart once again to squish and spread the paint between both sides. Kids love smoothing both sides of the paper together, and then opening the heart to reveal the new fun art.
5. Let your hearts dry, then tape up in your windows!
On a final note, when I shared this story on Facebook, three of my friends immediately made hearts for their front windows too. Big hearts. Small hearts. Sharpie hearts. Post-it note hearts.
Spread the love.
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