Interviewsand Articles


Annalena's Painting Advice: A tutorial from Leigh Hyams' granddaughter

by Leigh Hyams, Feb 10, 2009



Leigh Hyams sent me the following notes. —Richard Whittaker

"I found this script today in a forgotten portfolio. It was dictated to me by my four-year old granddaughter, Annalena, who could not write then, but she knew how to advise people to paint and draw. I like her advice enormously, not to mention her attitude..."
— Leigh Hyams, San Miguel Allende, Mexico

Excerpts from Annalena's advice on painting and drawing: 

• Take some paint, some colors, and with your paintbrush, put one color on your paper and take another color on top. Mix it and you'll find a new color is comin' up.
.  When I don't have anything to do and get bored, I start painting and then I just can't stop and it makes me feel good.
.  Take any piece of string. It doesn't matter what kind. Cut it if it's anything like yarn. Put chalk or paint all over it. Put your finger on the very top and grab the other end of the little thing that's stickin' out and pull. Press it on the paper. Then you have the beautiful marking of paint or chalk on the paper.
.  Please take your paintbrush and some paint. Paint whatever you want. Scribbles can be very pretty.
.  Take markers, some friends and a big piece of paper. Take turns drawing on the paper. Don't fight on whatever somebody draws.
.  Go outside and pick some flowers. Press the flower or leaves while dragging them across your piece of paper. A surprise will come out of the flower.
.  Get some wash-off markers and draw a tattoo on your arm, your legs, your chest or even on your forehead. Don't wash it off.
.  With a pencil you can draw a mountain, a dog, a fish, a stream, children going for an Easter egg hunt or you could draw anything with a pencil. When you're done, put it wherever you want to put it.
.  Take paint and paintbrush and water and then take your wet paintbrush and put it in any color and just make little twirly lines with your paintbrush. Put your paintbrush into the water and then into another color, and then back into the water. Now your water has color. Now just shake it over your paper and make little dots and it won't be water anymore. It will be paint. If you like the color of your water, just draw with it. Sometimes it looks like a different color on your paper, but it's still pretty.
.  Find a stick and take it home and take a piece of paper and a bottle of grown-up ink. Put your stick into the ink bottle and on your paper. Just make funny lines and the ink will come off the stick on the paper. It's pretty hard to make one, but you can make a face, a heart or a person drawing with ink. I'm just giving an example, but you can make a watermelon or anything else you want to make with ink. And you can always scribble.

About the Author

The late Leigh Hyams was a distinguished artist. Early on she was a studio assistant for Phillip Guston and close friend of Meyer Shapiro. She followed her own path traveling widely and teaching workshops all over the world. "It's the artists who are saving the world," she said.


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