Introduction to This Stone Soup Art Activity

Halima’s colorful picture is made in felt pen. It is so completely colored in it looks like painting! But because it is made with felt pen, it is the kind of painting that is easy to do at home or at school.

What makes this picture so wonderful to me are the colors. Halima approached the task of coloring her scene with great courage. She said to herself, “I am going to make a bright, strong picture, a colorful picture that makes me think of cool water and the bright hot sun shining on fishermen at the beach.” And then she went ahead and did it!

Look at the picture closely, and look at it from a distance. Notice the effect of the bright colors. Look carefully at the black lines—at the faces and fish and nets. One might say that, with colors, Halima tells the story of the bright hotness of the day. And, with lines, she tells another story—the story of the fishermen and the fish they caught that day.

Project: Make a Picture That Tells Two Stories

Using lines, tell us what some people are doing outdoors on a clear bright hot summer day. Using color, tell the story of the weather, the story of that brightness and hotness that make certain summer days so special.

Using pencil, lightly draw the basic shapes of people, some details of their faces and clothes, the buildings, cars, trees, whatever you need to tell the story of what your people are doing.

Then, using felt pens, colored pencils, or paint, boldly and courageously transform your sketch into a brightly colored painting. Use color to tell the story of heat and brightness. You may discover that in some cases the “right” color to use is not the real color that you seem to see with your eyes. For instance, let’s say the day is very hot and the sky very blue. What color sky will best give the idea of a hot day? It might be blue, but it might also be red, orange, or some other “hot” color. So, in choosing your colors, be brave, and experiment! Go with all your senses! Follow Halima’s example and make your picture exciting as a carnival!

From the May/June 1986 Issue of Stone Soup


Fishing, by Halima Said Ali, age 6, Oman

About the Author

In 1973, I was twenty years old, teaching children's art classes at my college, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and came up with the idea that the best way to encourage children to write was to introduce them to the best writing by their peers. Stone Soup grew out of that idea, and I have continued to publish Stone Soup for all these years.
I am also a culinary historian. I write about traditional foodways. My book, "The Magic of Fire," is about hearth cooking. My book, "Bread, a global history," speaks for itself. I am currently writing a bread history for a University Press. I publish articles on gardening and traditional foodways at Mother Earth News. I also publish on wild mushrooms and other food-related subjects.

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