Loving/Respecting Others-1

Illustration & Story Writing Workshop with Dr. Lydia Mays

This is a special guest post by Paint Love Summer Intern & GSU student, Victoria Allen.

The fun continues with our summer series for Camp PEACE students. 

On June 24th, the momentum switched up, combining literature and visual arts with Dr. Lydia Mays. Back in GSU classrooms, we met with a fresh and eager batch of volunteers and author Dr. Mays. During the planning time Dr. Mays discussed the process it takes to write a children's book and how the author and illustrator never actually met! This was the basis for the workshop, where students would write their own book then trade off with someone else who would become the illustrator. The Paint Love team as well as volunteers were captivated as Dr. Mays described in detail the thought provoking activity. 

Following the debriefing, Dr. Mays read us one of her books entitled "The Giving Me". Afterward breaking down the process of how books are made to the Camp PEACE students.


Students were then able to write their own stories either about themselves, or anything their creative minds composed. They received help from volunteers with grammar, rhyme scheme and so much more. The growing relationships between the students and volunteers is always a wonderful part!

The event produced a nice change of pace combining literary skills, teamwork and artistic expression. We look forward July's series with new artists and the students from Camp PEACE!




Creating felt friends at Ronald McDonald House

Guest post written by Paint Love volunteer Mandy Goodwin.

Last Tuesday, families staying at Ronald McDonald House were invited to join Paint Love and Forever We volunteers in creating an art project. Curious children peered through the door at hot glue guns, piles of felt and googly eyes. We were making no-sew stuffed animals. Young minds weighed the options of making a seal, whale, or penguin. Some new the answer immediately, others needed a moment to decide.

Creating art creates relationships. Volunteers, parents, and children laughed together gluing pieces and stuffing felt bellies. Stories were shared. Dreams and wishes were whispered to cut-out hearts tucked inside the stuffing.  Some leaned into their imaginative ideas and created their own animals. Bows, extra eyes, and drawings personalized projects. This room, messy with art supplies, was a space for families to just be together, to create together.

Artist Alice Lim, and Paint Love volunteers Mandy Goodwin and Laurel Wong pose with a family at the Ronald McDonald House. 

Artist Alice Lim, and Paint Love volunteers Mandy Goodwin and Laurel Wong pose with a family at the Ronald McDonald House. 

At Ronald McDonald House, families have a place to call home while their children receive medical care. The house isn’t just a place for shelter, it’s an opportunity for a family to heal as whole. Our Paint Love project was created for healing. The handmade stuffed animals are perfect for aching hearts and bodies to cling to. They’re small enough to be tucked into arms and backpacks during travel. And like all of our favorite stuffed animals, will listen and comfort at any moment

The Giving Me at Peachtree Elementary

Three art projects. Two hundred and sixty kindergarteners. One amazing event! We were so honored when Peachtree Corners Business Association approached us to host a project at a Title I school near to them. They generously donated a grant to make the event happen and I wish everyone could have seen the joy and excitement on the kid’s faces as we got started.

This event was themed around giving. The teachers wanted the students to create art for the upcoming art show in which a portion of the proceeds would be going to a school in Mexico, and possibly to another Paint Love art project. Paint Love artists don't just paint! We believe writing is an art form and full of creative inspiration. We took the creative mind of children's book author, Dr. Lydia Criss Mays, and turned her ideas into art projects with the help of artist volunteers Christina Wert and & Katey Penton. Dr. Mays did live readings of her book, The Giving Me. She talked with the kids about what giving feels like, what giving looks like, and popular children’s book illustration styles.

We split the Kindergarteners into 3 groups. Each group started out in the cafeteria with Lydia. After they were brought back to their classrooms, Christina Wert, Julie and I taught the project. Julie planned the event so that we moved in a wave from classroom to classroom. We never had all 250 kindergarteners at one time.

We chose to do three projects so there would be a wider variety of pieces at the art show. Here’s a quick look at each of the projects:


The watercolor and crayon project was easily my favorite. It was based off of Kathryn Otoshi & E.B. Lewis Illustrated books. The kids got to use paint to create background, then trace out their arms. We talked about warm and cool colors. And punched out hearts from their warm color crayon drawings.


This marker project was super fun. Lydia was inspired by Mo Willems and we pulled a little bit from Romero Britto’s style. The kids were able to create landscapes and collage on printed illustrations from The Giving Me book.

Oil Pastel:

Our oil pastel project was based on the illustrations of Jerry Pinkney. We talked about warm and cool colors and blending. Oil Pastels have such an interesting texture when blended! This was a fun one, because kids were able to get a little messy without getting too messy.

They turned out so well! I loved seeing how each child took a different approach. Every piece is different and unique, even though it was the same project. It was such a joy to meet so many creative spirits!

A huge thank you to the Peachtree Corners Business Association for sponsoring this opportunity!