Sunday, January 6, 2013

Archive child's art with point and shoot

Kids make art; They crank out a constant flow of the stuff. With an innate love of the abstract, they are prolific painters in the modern style. Fiona may be no abstract expressionist, then again maybe she is, but my wife and I like to share her work. We hang it on our fridge while secretly thinking it should hang in a gallery.

Unfortunately, a piece of art faces a short, tough life mounted on our fridge door. I saved some of Fiona's best pieces, but it soon became obvious that it was going to be impossible to save every splash of colour applied to a page.

This is where the digital camera comes in. Save your child's art for posterity, or your grandchild's, using your point and shoot. With a little luck the images may have a greater life span than the pigments used to make the original art. How stable are paints found in child's art set? Will the creation fade in sunlight?

Although there are questions about digital archiving of art, I'm betting digital images will last longer than cheap paint on coarse paper.

A note about the art: Fiona used her hands to paint the flower petals. "Watch gug-ha," she said. "Using your hands makes more complex colours." The three-year-old was right. She doesn't even own a warm brown paint but she managed to use that tone to tint a petal in her painting.

Which bring us to this: There are three things to keep in mind when archiving a kid's work.

  1. Shoot a full frame picture of the work. If you ever want to make a print, you want all the subtle nuances captured in the image.
  2. Shoot a picture showing the image on display.
  3. Try and get at least one photo of the young artist with the work. A picture showing the work being painted or sketched or whatever answers this nicely.
  4. Remember to keep the light illuminating the work "clean". Soft, mid-day daylight streaming through a large window is excellent. You don't want the picture tinted orange from an old tungsten light bulb or green from being lit by fluorescents.

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