On September 15th, 2020 was International Dot Day. It is named for the classic Peter H. Reynolds storybook "The Dot". Our family celebrated this special day by doing an Alma Thomas inspired art activity. Alma Thomas (1891-1978) was a black woman artist. Her work lends itself ideally to talk about color theory as well as expressionism in art.
Before getting creative, we looked at some of the later paintings by Alma Thomas. We talked about the interesting way the artist used shapes and colors to create veritable mosaics on paper. My kids were immediately inspired by her pictures and ready to get started with their own.
You do not need any special materials for the project. I still had some cotton canvas and acrylic paint left, so I handed them out for this project. It is, however, equally fine to use regular art paper and tempera paint if that is what you have. The project might even work with watercolors – after all Alma Thomas started out with watercolors – but the pictures will be less bright.
I decided to give the kids minimal instructions and just let them be creative. Instead, I displayed examples of Alma Thomas’ art throughout the project and let them be freely inspired and draw their own interpretations of the artist’s work. As you can see, some adopted the circular patterns while others were inspired by the vertical lines. One kid even let go of the mosaic character and drew some (Kandinsky-like) concentric circles. In the end, every kid was happy with the outcome and the pictures will make some great new decorations for their rooms.