A few years back, the theme was Crocodile Dock. I was asked to paint a fishing shack in a bayou, seen here. Another year I was asked to make snake hand puppets. I saved the prototype which has become one of our grandson's favorite things to play with while here. I don't have a photo of the puppet as originally created, but here is a recent photo of the snake with a pacifier.
This year, the theme was Kingdom Rock. My friend, with an abundance of faith, asked if I would make a castle wall backdrop. With a fireplace. Painted on a flattened refrigerator carton.
Do you know how big a flattened refrigerator carton is? It is huge! Here it is in my living room, painted primer gray.
It was folded and placed flat on the floor to measure and draw pencil lines to indicate where cement blocks would be drawn with a wide tip black marker.
I am lucky to have a sewing/craft room, but it isn't big enough to accommodate a project of this size and allow perspective for photographing.
Originally, my friend only wanted three panels done, but once you have a permanent crick in your neck, why not do all four? Here are three panels partially done and the beginnings of the fireplace.
I'm not thrilled with the fire and the glow that I tried to created but I doubt pre-schoolers are picky critics. If they are, I still have a snake that will defend me.
In case you ever find yourself needing to create the illusion of a block wall, here is the cheater's guide:
Decide the size of your blocks, in my case, 8" tall by 12" wide. Measure and mark with a pencil on a surface that has been painted the desired color of your wall. My friend and her daughter used primer gray before bringing the cardboard to me.
Use a yardstick and a broad tip marker to create the blocks. Take the hard square-ness off of the block corners by making a "Y" on your lines at the top joins and an upside down "Y" at the bottom with your marker. It doesn't have to be exact.
I used disposable foam brushes (I buy them by the bag for messy work) with very little paint (dry brush technique) to make a black line down the left side and across the bottom of each block for shading, then did the opposite sides in white for highlighting. It was a quick detail that gave the blocks some dimension.
Next year, I hope the theme is imagination. Close your eyes children. Close them tight. See whatever you want to see while I read you the story of two friends. One wonders how she gets drawn into projects that she feels is over her head. The other has faith that with a foam brush, acrylic paints and a marker, her friend can make anything she asks.