Paint Chip Doodles

Every Summer I undertake a project with my four sons.  The idea is that it keeps them busy and stimulated for a period each day, it might involve trying something new or learning something, it provides some structure and routine to each day of the (exceedingly long) summer break, and it gives us a focused activity to do together each day.

In previous years, the projects have very much had an educational focus.  For example, we did ancient civilizations a few years ago; the 50 states of America; Knights, Kings and Castles; and last year we studied History of Art.  This year, however, I am trying a slightly different approach.  This year, the spread of ages of the kids – the youngest being 7 and the oldest 13 – made it a challenge to settle on a subject that would be accessible to everyone.  So for this year I am experimenting with a less educational approach and making it more about sampling fun activities.  As such, I created a whole list of possibilities and printed them out on paper, folded, and popped them in a box so that we can do a “pot luck” each day.

First up then was an activity inspired by the wonderful Claudia McGill.  On one of her blogs, Claudia had shared some illustrations she had done using paint chips cards as her creative scaffolding.  I squirreled that idea away for future use and decided it was perfect for the pot luck.

I had collected up an assortment of paint chip cards last time I was in a DIY store so the boys were able to select colours that caught their eye or else look at the names of the paint shades and make a selection that way.  We drew on them with black biro for ease of use.  The only “rule” was that the name of the paint had to inspire the doodle.

Here is what my 13 year old came up with.  The pink strip is dishy coral, sweety pink, and prettiest pink; the red strip is magnificent red, show stopper, candy heart, and robust red; the pale green strip is heather green, pottery glaze, and misted mint; and the yellow strip is lime blast, alchemist, game changer, and ginger wasabi.

Paint Chip Doodles AB

My 7 year old wanted to work with all natural, neutral colours.  The dark brown strip is back in the saddle, brevity brown, woodsy hollow, and relaxed vibe (so relaxed that the wee figure is in fact deceased); the beige strip is tawny owl, linwood sands, and paper kraft; the red-brown strip is fireweed, burnt scarlet, farm stand apple, and coralbelle; and the grey strip is saxon grey, stone eagle, and icicle.

Paint Chip Doodles AR

My 9 year old doodled on these three paint chip cards: the green one is admiral bronze, pampas grass, rainforest floor, and olivine crystal; the peach hued one is coral odyssey (that’s Odysseus between his foes), indulgent peach, and coral perfection; the purple one is impulsive purple, opulent purple, allium blooms, and elusive violet.

Paint Chip Doodles ET

My 10 year old’s selection was a blue strip containing sweet lavender, celestial skies, and melodious; the brown strip containing fireweed, burnt scarlet, farm stand apple, and coralbelle; the yellow strip featuring lime blast, alchemist, game changer, and ginger wasabi; and the red strip of magnificent red, show stopper, candy heart, and robust red.

Paint Chip Doodles OA

Here are the doodles I produced:the blue strip containing sweet lavender, celestial skies, and melodious; the pink strip is dishy coral, sweety pink, and prettiest pink; the lilac strip is thistle, furtive mauve, and plumsicle; and the yellow strip features yellow & mellow, morning mimosa, and vanilla chai.

Paint Chip Doodles LR

It was a super quick, super thrifty, and super fun activity.  The kids all really enjoyed it so I can add this to my “rainy day” list of activities.  They plan to use their paint chip strips as bookmarks which I think is a great idea.

12 thoughts on “Paint Chip Doodles

  1. Thank you for your mention, and wow! I love how varied and creative the results are here and also the insight into each person’s thinking. I’m glad this worked out this way. And that everyone likes it.


  2. Interesting. This looks like another really fun project. Next to me on my cork board I have Elfin Magic, Green Mist, Envy, Vacation Island, Frog Green, Hyper, and Science Experiment. I’m considering Frog Green or Hyper for my office. Perhaps I could make art to match!

  3. I love seeing children’s artwork. And this exercise was a great idea. It reminded me of exercises in a great poetry writing book I read a few years ago called poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. Among her many ideas (and I can’t recall if she also mentions paint chips), she encourages people to write poems based on images that might come to them from reading nature guides–wildflower names, butterflies etc. I can also imagine these names as a start for imaginative artwork for kids and adults. Right now, for example, I’ve just pulled out an old seashell guide book and see: giant slipper shell, livid macron and new England Neptune!

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