Kids Can Paint Like Gillian Ayres


Here at ArtyPants we’re celebrating the birthday of British painter Gillian Ayres who is best known for her abstract painting with the use of vibrant colours. With abstract art there is no recognizable subject and in the case of Gillian Ayres her paintings are about her mood after an experience such as travelling to different countries like India. 

How to Introduce Abstract Art to a Preschooler

The idea of kids creating abstract art is actually fantastic as there is no right or wrong way to make art in this style. They find joy in creating art, free from fear of making mistakes and can simply enjoy the process of creating.

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First we looked at pictures of India and talked about the colours, the shapes and textures then also looked at Gillian Ayres work to see any comparisons. What is great about her work is that preschoolers connect with it, as it’s colourful and inviting.


When talking about colour I asked what feeling can be felt looking at red, then I asked to point to all the red that can be seen. This helped to notice the colour and the different variations.

My preschooler noticed the polka dot patterns in many pictures, which is great so we looked for more patterns that she can see.


The Supplies

  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints ~ we used Ikea’s MÅLA watercolour box
  • Flat paint brushes

The Process

There are no rules for creating this type of activity. When I work one-on-one I find it important to create my own work so that we are working together. This allows the time and creative space for the child to create as we both feed of the energy. I may speak while I work to help model not just language but some ideas, such as:

“I’m going to wiggle my brush”


I’m loving my preschooler’s creativity and have noticed that she’s really into drawing and painting circles as of late, so abstract art is a sure fit. What a great idea for a birthday party to have the kids create some abstract art as an activity, contact ArtyPants for more details.


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