Category Archives: Just for Fun

Friday Photo

Arturo’s Pre-School

This week’s Friday Photo is celebrating Fall!  It is a time for the leaves to change, to bring scarves and boots out of the closet, and of course, to celebrate family, friends and food during Thanksgiving!  November’s Auturo’s Pre-School classes celebrated fall through creating magical and realistic forest creatures with felt leaves and acorns.  A great project to do as a family over the holiday!


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Filed under Art Projects, Arturo, Children’s art, DMA Programs, Just for Fun

Drawing with Light

If you stopped by the Center for Creative Connections during the October Late Night at the DMA, then perhaps you saw or experienced the wild creations in the Tech Lab.  Visitors of all ages were given 15 seconds to create a drawing with light.  Light Drawing has been around for nearly a century, and yet it remains a fresh, fun, exercise that many photographers experiment with today.  The influx of new light and camera technologies has made this concept more accessible.

First a word about how it works.  All cameras work by controlling light in two ways –through the aperture and the shutter speed.  The aperture or f-stop determines how much light is exposed in each shot. A smaller aperture, like f/2.8 results in more light being let through, while a larger aperture, like f/22 results in less light being let through:

The shutter speed controls how long the shutter is open.  If your shutter speed is 500, that means that the shutter is open for 1/500th of a second.  If your shutter speed is 15, that means your shutter is open for 1/15th of a second, therefore capturing more light (and action) over time:

For drawing with light, it’s best to have the shutter speed set for over 1 second.  When we took our visitors photos during Late Night, we set our shutter speed to 15 seconds.  You are probably best off setting your aperature to a medium setting like around f/8 or f/11.

So, how can you bring the magic of Drawing with Light into your home?  Here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Gather materials: Digital Camera with adjustable shutter speed (all Digital SLRs are capable of this and some point and shoot cameras are as well); a tripod (or other way to stabilize your camera); a few light sources (laser pointers, cell phones, flashlights, Christmas lights, etc.)
  2. Set camera to a manual setting where you can control the shutter speed.
  3. Set the shutter speed to 15 seconds (or as slower if you want more time).
  4. Set the camera on the tripod and position it as desired.
  5. Turn off all the lights in the room.
  6. Hand the kids the flashlights, laser pointers, etc.  and press your shutter button.
  7. Now you have 15 seconds to make a drawing!

The great thing about using a digital camera to capture your Light Drawing is the instant feedback.  Take a few photos where your kids can just play with the lights, with no end product in mind.  After the picture is made, let them look at their creation.

You can keep it simple or get more complicated; work as a team, with one person posing while another draws around them; make words in the air; or dance with the lights and see what happens.  Above all, have fun!

Check out our slideshow for more inspiration.

Posted by: Jessica Fuentes

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, Just for Fun, Late Night

Artsy Pumpkins

Halloween is just three days away—is your pumpkin ready? Carving pumpkins was always one of my favorite family traditions. It usually took us an entire evening to choose the pumpkin, scoop out the inside slimy bits (yuck!), roast up the pumpkin seeds (yum!), and then decide what kind of face our jack-o-lantern would have. I had a tendency to stick to the traditional triangle-eyed, jaggedy-tooth smiley face.

If you have yet to decorate your own pumpkin, why not take an artistic approach this year? Think of your favorite artist and imagine how his/her style would look if the artist had worked on a pumpkin rather than a canvas.

Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

Action painting pumpkin

Channel your inner Jackson Pollock by dripping and flinging paint onto your pumpkin to create a Jack{son}-o-Lantern. For a darker, spookier effect, draw your color inspiration from the Cathedral painting currently on view at the museum. Or try a rainbow of color by following Kathy Barbro’s tutorial on her blog Art Projects for Kids.

“Cathedral,” Jackson Pollock, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis

Pollock Pumpkin from Art Projects for Kids

Color Field pumpkin

In a preschool class I taught last week, the children decided that the orange featured prominently in Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red and Red was “pumpkin orange,” so it seems fitting that Rothko becomes the inspiration for another artsy pumpkin. Create floating fields of color on your pumpkin-canvas with spray or craft paint. Sibylle at the Funkytime blog used bright neon colors, but you could also create a pumpkin using different shades of just one color.

“Orange, Red, and Red,” by Mark Rothko, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Ombre pumpkin from the Funkytime blog

Lines and shapes pumpkin

For an even simpler pumpkin project, just use washi tape or scrapbooking tape to create criss-crossing lines of pattern across the pumpkin in the style of Piet Mondrian. Get the how-to at Real Simple here. Or use painter’s tape to section off areas for blocks of color like Bronwyn did on the Queen B Creative Me blog.

“Place de la Concorde,” Piet Mondrian, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Tape pumpkins from Real Simple

Mondrian-inspired pumpkin at Queen B Creative Me

If carving is more your style, check out this amazing slide show of art-inspired pumpkins at The Huffington Post.

Happy Halloween!

Posted by: Leah

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Just for Fun

Make it Yourself: Custom Skate Decks

Custom skateboard deck by Anton.

On Sunday, teens embarked on a custom skateboard deck design workshop with our special guest artist, Mark Gutting. Mark, who teaches art in Mesquite ISD, has taught summer camps at the DMA for the last several years and has led some dynamite classes focused on design. This weekend he lent his expertise to our monthly Urban Armor class, where participants had the opportunity to gain inspiration from the exhibition Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s-Present and design boards using screen printing techniques, markers, and paint.

Mark Gutting demonstrating screen printing techniques using his custom jig.

You can make your own deck at home using the same materials. Blank decks are easy to find and are relatively cheap (we bought ours from the Rec Shop in Dallas; Metallic sharpies and paint markers work well, as will acrylic or enamel paint; spray paint would be ideal. To get a nice, clean graphic, use painters tape to mask off the edges off your image before you paint it. Or, cut out a stencil to use–this is a great technique when using spray paint, especially if you want to repeat the same image throughout your design.

Max using a combination of stenciling and painting techniques on his deck.

If you want to get really fancy, try screen printing your deck. You’ll need a screen, screen printing ink, and a squeegee (all available at Michaels and Asel Art Supply, among others). To make things easier, I would use a cut paper stencil design to use with your screen but you can also transfer an image to it using emulsion fluid, etc. For the DIY enthusiast, there are several sites that have instructions for making your own tabletop jig for screen printing skate decks (YouTube is a great resource for that). This set up will not only make screen printing the board’s surface much simpler, but allow you to print multiple decks.

Printing Max’s design using Mark’s handmade jig.

After you finish, let your design dry thoroughly before using it; you’ll also probably want to give it a coat of clear finish if you’re going to be skating on it. If you don’t want to ding up your masterpiece, you could turn it into a wall art display by mounting it in your room or even add some functionality by making it into a cool shelf!

Urban Armor is a monthly program for teens. Go to for more information.

Posted by: JC

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Filed under 6 to 12 year olds, Art Projects, Center for Creative Connections, DMA Programs, Just for Fun, Teens, Uncategorized

Friday Photo

The theme of September’s Late Night event was iMuseum, where friends of the DMA were encouraged to make the museum their own, personal space.  In the Center for Creative Connections, families owned the space by turning it into a yoga studio! Here are some yoginis practicing their warrior pose–and look, Arturo even joined in!

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Filed under Center for Creative Connections, DMA Programs, Just for Fun, Late Night

Hola, bonjour, aloha, howdy!

Creating wearable art during Studio Creations!

My name is Danielle, and I am the new Family Experiences McDermott intern here at the wonderful DMA.  As I hope you can tell with my greeting, I am really excited to be here at this fantastic museum!  During the next year I will be helping out with many of the diverse educational programs held at the museum, including Family Celebrations, Late Nights, Access Programs, Arturo’s Art & Me, [We]ekend Programs and much, much more!  Since I will be working and creating with many of you this upcoming year, I thought I would take a minute to tell you a little bit more about myself, so here it goes!


  • Was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and as a result love anything and everything with lots and lots of green chile.
  • Have visited 20 of the 50 states, and lived in 5 of them (California, Illinois, Oregon, New Mexico, and of course Texas).
  • Moved to Dallas from Austin, where I lived for 3 years while completing my Master’s degree in Art Education (graduated May 2012, woo-hoo!)
  • Earned my undergraduate degree in Photography, and try to take pictures as much as possible.
  • Love to crochet and sew!
  • Have a cat named Kitty (pretty original, eh?)
  • Currently, have 3 pairs of cowboy boots—but always looking to add to my collection!

The above photograph was taken during my very first Saturday Studio Creations class.  I had a fantastic time creating this crown with the great families that visited the studio.  We all worked to create animal-themed wearable art that was inspired by the Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico exhibition now on view at the museum.  You’ll notice that I added bright red feathers to my crown—this is because Quetzalcoatl, a revered leader and ancient diety of the peoples of southern Mexico, was often symbolized (or shown) with brightly colored feathers from the quetzal bird.  Other artists in the studio created crowns, swords, shields, tiaras–I’m amazed at the amount of creativity DMA families have!

This great and FREE art-making program takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 1-3pm in the Center for Creative Connections studio.  I hope you’ll come and create with us!

Posted by: Danielle

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Finally – it is beginning to feel like September outside! The weather was so beautiful this weekend that I spent heaps of extra time outside enjoying it. This is the time of year booming with many family friendly outdoor festivals and things to do, not to mention the opening of Klyde Warren Park next month! The Park is next door to the Museum and will have an abundance of things to do – a Children’s Garden, Reading and Games Courtyard, and even a dog park, to name a few. The Park will have partnerships with many DFW organizations, including the Dallas Museum of Art. It is so fun to think about making art outside in a beautiful natural setting.

With a few short months of weather that isn’t sweltering hot, before it gets too chilly – why not bring art-making outdoors?

Here are some ideas to get you and your family started!


  • Sidewalk chalk! Drawing characters, creating words, hopscotch, tic tac toe…the possibilities are endless! Check out Domestic Charm for a great DIY liquid sidewalk chalk recipe.


  • Nature Scavenger Hunt – Enlist kids to sketch what they find in nature on their hunt, or check out I Am Momma Hear Me Roar for a  cute way to recycle egg cartoons for various nature collections. Counting Coconuts has some very fun ideas about what one might need on a ‘searching for nature’ excursion.


  • Make a Gnome Home or a Fairy Garden – think of all of the magical creature who inhabit our gardens and parks! Why not make your own? A garden is always much happier and better taken care of with the help of some friendly gnomes or friendly fairies. Find a sweet story about pine cone gnomes along with a tutorial on how to make your own on We Bloom Here. If fairies are more your thing, Momfluential has an extremely comprehensive list of all things fairy garden, including what you can collect from (mostly) nature to make your own.


Posted by Amanda

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Filed under Art Projects, Children’s art, Homeschool, Just for Fun