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Art Education Studio at Home

Kohl’s Art Generation Studio at Home: Trip to the Market

Laurent Casimir (Haitian, 1928–1990), Crowded Market, 1972. Oil on Masonite, 36 × 48 in. (91.44 × 121.92 cm). Gift of Richard and Erna Flagg M1991.117 Photo by Larry Sanders

Markets are great places to discover new things to buy and eat. In his work Crowded Market, Laurent Casimir captured a very busy outdoor market in Haiti. The artist filled every inch of his painting with people who are buying and selling goods, helping us imagine what it felt like to be there. Can you spot some of the different things people are buying and selling in the painting?

This week, we are going to make our own paint, using items that you may find at a market. With a grown-up’s permission, look for colorful spices and foods in your home. Flower petals are also a great source of color. Not everything you choose will make a good paint, so you’ll want to try them out before starting your artwork. Avoid foods that are sticky or very thick. Here are some of the things I collected:

Spices, such as habanero, cinnamon, chili powder, and curry powder, are used in many Haitian dishes. Frozen treats, similar to the blue icicle pop pictured here, are also popular in Haiti, where it is warm all year round. It can be fun to try new flavors. Have a grown-up help you decide which spices and foods would be good for you to taste. You may not want to taste them if they are too spicy.

To make your paints, add water, one drop at a time, to the dry spices and other items you’ve collected. Use separate cups or containers for each. The water will also help any thicker materials flow more easily. Some items, like grapes or flower petals, may need to be crushed or squeezed before you can turn them into paint. I used an eyedropper to add water,but you can also use a straw or small spoon. Make sure your paint doesn’t get too thin.

Here is how my homemade paint looks when it is brushed onto paper:

Casimir did not want to show us portraits, or likenesses of individual people. He wanted to show us a huge crowd, so he used simple shapes to represent people. The market I draw will not be crowded. Shoppers will be standing six feet apart and wearing masks, so I will need to draw more details. After I draw my market scene, I will add my homemade paint.

Because I practiced painting with my colors first, I know which colors will work best in my drawing. I even mixed some of my colors together to get new colors. My painted scene is lively, with bright colors, a shining sun, and plenty of new flavors to try! It even smells like a market! A market doesn’t need to be crowded to make it an exciting place to be.

Post a photo of your artwork on social media, and invite us to check it out! Tag @MilwaukeeArt and use #MAMStudioAtHome.

Kohl’s Studio at Home activities are designed to be enjoyed with the whole family, regardless of age. Families can work together to learn new techniques and materials, and to explore creativity. As with all new things, provide your child the support and supervision that they need for their developmental level, practicing safe use of tools and materials. You know your kids best!

Brett Henzig is the Youth & Family Programs Educator. He manages the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio, leads school tour workshops, and teaches Youth Studio Classes and Summer Art Camps. Outside the Museum, you’ll find Brett making art, rescuing injured wild animals, and spending time with his wife, dog, cat, and rabbit.

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