Introduction to this Stone Soup Art Activity

In a way, the new year really starts with spring. Spring is the time for planting the garden and cleaning house. It is the time when trees get new leaves and when you can play outdoors well into the evening. It is the season when cycles begin again. Plants come out of dormancy, fruit trees flower, butterflies and bees are out in force, and the fruits for later in summer begin growing. It is  is a time of promise.

This picture of spring is a painting by a seven-year-old from the island of Cyprus. Look at this picture. The tree, flowers, sheep, and vivid colors all crowded together recreate one of those important spring feelings—the feeling of bright fresh air, wonderful days bursting with new life. I’ve chosen this image by a young child because, in its exuberance, it has many aspects of abstract art. This is Spring as a riot of color. As a feeling of bursting. As energy.

Project: Make a Picture That Records a Personal Feeling of Spring

Close your eyes and make yourself feel the way you do on a warm spring day. When you have this feeling in mind, use your imagination to find an image out of your own life that matches this feeling. Maybe in your imagination you see a ball game, or you and your family working together in the garden, or birds in the branches of a tree, or something you saw in a park. Perhaps, like Myra, who painted this picture, your sense of spring is a fruit tree in bloom with bees and butterflies flying about.

Your goal is to bring to life the smell and feeling of Spring using images out of your imagination that are based on things you have seen with your own eyes in the real world. Take from the style you find in this picture by a young a child the confidence of the young child — which is the confidence of the artist. Be bold. Take risks. Embrace color.

From the May/June 1985 issue of Stone Soup

Pictures of spring Spring

Spring, by Myra Nicolaou, 8, Cyprus

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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