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Painting with seniors: easy step-by-step guide

Cristin painting with her grandmother
Easy painting to do with seniors:  Sunset Cactus Garden

Share your paintings with us!  We’d love to see them.  Post on Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtags #MonAmi and #PaintingwithSeniors

Hi there! Wanting to find an interactive activity to do with a grandparent or senior in your life? Painting is a wonderful choice for a relaxing, yet mindful and engaging activity that anybody can do. You don’t need any experience with painting or art to do these easy step-by-step acrylic artworks. Make it extra fun by throwing in some wine and call it a “Wine & Paint!”

This is the first in a series of paintings we’ll share with you.  I was lucky enough to create these paintings with my grandmother, who is a retired art teacher who taught for 30 years. When I asked her to join me, she was thrilled and couldn’t wait to share this experience with me. To watch me and my grandma in action, you can check out the video here.

Here is the first painting!

finished cactus painting

The following painting was done with acrylic paint on plain white printer paper. You can do these with water colors on printer paper or acrylic paint on canvas. Whatever you have you can accomplish these paintings, but it is important to note that techniques are different between acrylic and watercolor. I hope you enjoy your painting day! 

Supplies Needed: 

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paper
  • Water Cup
  • A Smile! 

Colors needed:

  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Purple
  • Brown

First, paint the canvas yellow to have a base coat. Tip: acrylic paint does not blend like watercolors. When you add color, you’re building on top of the original coat.

canvas with yellow background

Second, paint orange above the horizon line. 

canvas with orange added for the horizon line

Third, add red on top of the orange all the way to the top of the page. You should start seeing that charming sunset coming in!

canvas with red added to the horizon

Fourth, paint purple over on the top line of the paper and blend it through. 

purple added at the top of the horizon

Now we’ll start working below the horizon line by adding a brown desert floor. 

painting with addition of desert floor

Bring on the cacti! With the same brown you can begin to paint a cactus. To paint a cactus simply stroke your brush in  a straight line, have a curve on the top. Next, paint arms coming out of the cactus, the arms should be at a curve. Quick tip: if you are worried about how they will look, get a pencil and trace the cacti out first.  

sunset with cactus silhouette in front

You can create depth within the photo by creating different size cacti.

finished sunset painting

There you go! You guys did it, you painted a desert! Don’t forget to have fun with this project. Having fun, enjoying company, and accomplishing  a painting is enough to be proud of! :) 

grandmother and author's paintings side by side

The one on the left is mine and the one on the right is my grandma’s. 

Would love to see what you do!  Share your paintings with us on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #MonAmi and #PaintingwithSeniors