The Power of Painting at the de Young Summer Art Camp

Week four of the de Young Summer Art Camp featured the theme The Power of Painting . Guest blogger Alida Jekabson visited the studios in the tower to report on the young artists’ emerging talents.

Splatter painting

Throughout the week, the Apprentice group interacted with different types of paint to create work in the studio, learning about warm and cool colors, and how to shade and tint color. On the first day of camp the Apprentices made quilted fish in the morning, using oil pastel and watercolor to create a resist. To gather inspiration for the afternoon, the Apprentices went to the top floor of the tower and took in the view of the city’s horizon line. Back in the studio, they created their own horizons, using warm or cool colors on black construction paper.


The next day the campers visited the Impressionist gallery, and used colors and painting techniques they learned to make their own interpretations of the pond outside the museum.

Impressionist landscapes

After a tour of the Chuck Close exhibit, teaching artists introduced a screen-printing technique. One Apprentice observed that, “Printing was my favorite because I never got to print before.”


The Artisans took on some big projects during the week. On the first day of camp, they employed Caran d'ache to color expressive gesture drawings. Then they visited the Conservatory of Flowers, gathering inspiration to draw flowers, which they then made into still lifes painted on canvas with tempera.

Still lifes

On Wednesday, the Artisans visited the contemporary painting gallery where they encountered the “splattering” technique seen in some of the artworks. One Artisan shared, “This was my favorite thing this week because the splattering is fun.”


The next day the young artists sketched in the African and Oceanic art galleries. Their final project, sand painting, involved applying a mixture of crushed pastel, sand, and salt to gouache on wooden boards.

The next morning, while viewing sculpture in the museum galleries, the artists continued to think about detail, specifically the use of color in the pieces they observed. They then used these observations and ideas to fabricate painted sculptures out of cardboard.

Sculpture painting

They used primary colors of acrylic paint, mixing them to create their own unique artist’s palette.


A Master shared insight on her thought process, revealing that, “I thought about the colors I would use while I was making my sculpture.” They also made their own paintbrushes out of felt, yarn, raffia, and feathers, using their personal brushes to paint large-scale works. The Masters rounded out the week with a visit to the Conservatory of Flowers and a final project in which they took photographs of themselves. Then, using Sharpie on acetate, they traced over their portraits and applied this simplified image to a piece of paper to make a realistic portrait of each artist.

Self portraits

Tune in next week to find out what our creative campers are up to at the de Young Summer Art Camp!