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Spiral Art: Paint & Doodle on Spirals

Today we’ll play with spirals to make spiral art.

Circles or spirals are one of the first recognizable marks children make in their drawings. They’re intuitive, easy to create, and represent countless things in the natural world.

Numerous artists incorporate spirals and circles into their work. Historically, there’s Louise Bourgeois’s spiral sculptures and prints, Vincent Van Gogh’s mesmerizing sky in The Starry Night, and Robert Smithson’s famous Spiral Jetty, an enormous piece of land art in the shape of a spiral

Bourgeois really went deep into spirals and had an interesting take on them:

“The spiral is an attempt at controlling the chaos. It has two directions. Where do you place yourself, at the periphery or at the vortex? Beginning at the outside is the fear of losing control; the winding in is a tightening, a retreating, a compacting to the point of disappearance. Beginning at the center is affirmation, the move outward is a representation of giving, and giving up control; of trust, positive energy, of life itself. Spirals—which way to turn—represent the fragility in an open space. Fear makes the world go round.”

Louise Bourgeois

When you’re doodling, do you ever notice spirals or circles naturally emerge from your pen?

I definitely do!

In this spirit, I want to share a simple painting and drawing exercise to either reconnect you with your inner child or offer as a prompt to a child or children in your life.

The process of painting is joyful and adding details will push your imagination to invent designs or patterns that add your personality.

Let’s make some spiral art

Are you ready to get started with some fun spiral art for all ages?

First, collect watercolor paint, heavy paper, a brush, and a pen.

spiral painting tinkerlab

Fill a page with looping lines and spirals. Create some variety so you’ll have a few basic shapes to play with.

I went in thinking I’d turn mind into snakes and reptiles: you may want to do the same, or you might have another idea.

Next, find a favorite pen or mark-making tool to add some personality to the spirals and curvy lines.

spiral painting reptile tinkerlab

Go back in with more watercolor paint to add details or dimension.

spiral painting tinkerlab snake

Keep going with more curvy lines, add a background, or cut them out to add to cards or other pieces of art.

Hope you have fun with this one.

For more in-depth activities like this, with video tutorials, join our kids art membership: TinkerLab Schoolhouse Kids Art Studio

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