“By the Sea” Art Camp

I had the honor of spending last week with fourteen 5-8 year olds, exploring life By the Sea, a camp idea inspired by my residency in Shetland earlier this year. This isn’t the first art camp I’ve taught but it’s been several years since the last one, so I was a little worried about making sure I could hold these kids’ attention for three hours a day, five days a week. It wasn’t easy but fortunately there are endless projects and stories one can come up with for a camp called “By the Sea.” Plus, they were a very well-behaved group and I had the help of two interns, so we all had a really good time.

Some photos from our adventures:

Day One: Sailboat mixed media paintings and lighthouses

Day One: Sailboat mixed media paintings and lighthouses


A sampling of finished sailboat pieces


Day Two: Drawing and then sculpting sea turtles (and creating paper plate “environments” for the little guys to dry on), and watercolor jellyfish


Day Three: Community mural of “Things you see by the sea,” using the alphabet as our guide, and writing/coloring exercises


“What You See by the Sea” community mural


Day 4: Mosaic tile fishes and taking turns working on the community mural


Day Five: Tide Pools! We started with drawing all the plants and creatures we see in tidepools, then added watercolor. Then we had an art show for the kids’ parents/babysitters/siblings to wrap up the week

Yes, there were whales in a few of the tide pools and the Willis Tower really isn’t found by the sea, but it’s art, right? A fun thing about this age group was the mix of kids who saw things very literally (and rightly pointed out that a Narwhal wouldn’t exist next to a beach with palm trees) and those who refused to see anything literally, aware they were making their own decisions about what got to live next to each other in their artwork. I suppose that isn’t so different from how we adults perceive the world, either.

What a fun and crazy and exhausting week this was in what continues to be a most unusual year!

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