After School Art



Art-Making {Transition from School to Home}

The first thing my kids want to do when they get home from school is get a snack and veg-out in front of the television.  (Admittedly, some days, that exactly what happens.)  But my favorite thing to do with them after school is paint.  
Paint is inviting.  It's sensory.  It's open-ended.  Plus, they don't fight while they're doing it.  AND, sometimes they actually tell me about their day while they paint! 

We don't always paint.   Sometimes we draw or sculpt. I like to have an activity planned for them when they get off the bus.  

My favorite art activities are PROCESS-FOCUSED...meaning, that the emphasis is on the experience of creating the art instead of trying to achieve an end-product (we call that CRAFT).

Here, I had dug out some forgotten colored pencils and a spiral notebook.  Ava decided she wanted to fill her book with different monster drawings.  She drew monsters. I drew monsters.  And we talked about our day while dinner cooked.  

It's important to note that your kids don't care if you can draw.  As a matter of fact, they probably think that you draw really well.  (don't tell them otherwise)

I put together a collection of some of my favorite art invitations for after school.  These are invitations that are require very little prep on your part.  Some of these may seem "too young" for your big kids, but never underestimate the older kids' desire to finger paint.  (And how GOOD it is for them!)

Art Invitations

Credit Card Painting
Marshmallow sculptures
Paper plate weaving
Bubbling Art
Finger Painting
Melted Crayon Rocks
Graph Paper Drawings
Art Journals
Check some of these out.  And, if you try one, or if you have your own favorites, tell me about it in the comments below! 
Come explore ART in an environment that encourages DISCOVERY, self-directed learning, and connections with others.   Mommy & Me classes and Lil' Artists classes are designed for our youngest artist...ages 12 months through Pre-K.  We meet weekly in our studio for an hour of wildly colorful play.

Mommy & Me Art

Mommy & Me Art is a parent-child class for our littlest artists.  During our time together, we explore all sorts of different art materials, make some beautiful-wild art, work on fine motor skills, and let the children EXPLORE in ways that you can't do at home.  Mommy & Me Art is an experience.  Come in old clothes.

Lil' Artists Classes

Lil' Artists classes are full of novelty and movement.  For our 3's, 4's and 5's...we fill our time with storytelling, story "writing" and imagination.  There is very little "sit still" in these classes!  We use a wide range of materials...watercolor, oil pastels, tempera paint, collage materials, and a number of more "unexpected" art materials. Inspiration for artwork comes from children's stories, famous art, and popular children themes.  

Even though all materials are labeled as "washable", it is suggested that you dress your child in old clothes.

So, your life runs On a toddler's schedule?

What if you miss a class?  We've got you covered.  If you miss a class for ANY reason, we'll give you a free pass for one of our Friday or Saturday morning Open Art sessions or a Preschool Playtime so you can make-up your creative time in the studio!

Register for classes online.  Monthly tuition is due at the time of registration.  Families have the option of registering for classes monthly online, signing up for auto-registration and direct billing, or paying for the entire semester.  Discounted rates are available for families who select the latter two options.


Art Classes for Children with Special Needs

Our DaVinci and Picasso classes are geared toward children with special needs. 

We provide a safe, enriching experience in which children of all ages can explore the visual arts. The curriculum will mirror what is being offered in our traditional classes but tailored to the needs of the individual artist. Classes are limited to six artists. 

Children with special needs are welcome in ALL our art classes.  

DaVinci and Picasso classes are designed for families who feel like without this option, the wonderful world of Orange Easel art classes would not be possible for their children.

~ Allison Jensen, Owner
At Orange Easel, we offer a 10:30am class (Picasso's) and a 1:00pm (DaVinci's) class. Each class is 60 minutes. The Picasso's class mirrors our preschool curriculum and the DaVinci's class mirrors our K-12 classes; parents can choose the curriculum format that best suits their children, regardless of age.  
If you'd like to speak to an instructor about the class outlines/curriculum, please don't hesitate to give us a call -- 816.407.9266

Beginning September 3rd, Orange Easel is offering semi-private and small group art classes for Middle School and High School students.  Orange Easel Instructors support the artists in project conception, composition, and execution.

Our goal is nurture the young artists in both the CREATIVE CONFIDENCE to conceptualize art and the TECHNICAL SKILLS to create it.

What do these classes "look like"?

Imagine a full hour every week where you can exercise creative muscles.  In these classes, we brainstorm in our art journals, search our inspiration online and it books, gather our materials, and work hard to make our individual visions come to life.  

Inspired to work with paints and canvases?  Or complete a large-scale charcoal drawing?  We can do that.  Want to play with metals and jewelry?  We can do that too.  How about a mixed media work?  We can support you though the multiple layers of that project--teaching you techniques along the way.   Not sure what to do?  Don't worry.  Our instructors have plenty of project ideas up their sleeves!  You can pick one.

Students may work for a considerable length of time on the one project or they may finish their work in one or two classes; they may have multiple projects going at once.  Creativity demands flexibility. 

Lockers are available for these students to store their work safely.  

All art materials in the studio are available for the students to use.  

Classes meet weekly for 60 minutes.

Tuition is $60/month.


An hour isn't very long.  What if I need more time?

Need more time to work?  Our studio is open on Saturday mornings for drop-in Open Art; during this time, middle school and high school artists may drop-in and work independently on their projects at no charge.  

Space is limited in these special classes!
Click the button to be taken to our registration page! 

Super Hero ART


By Miss Sara
I love art. I could sit and make art all day. My very energetic son however, hasn’t really shared my enthusiasm or focus for getting consumed by a creative project. 

All through pre-k his teacher and I worked with him on slowing down. His idea of coloring was to frantically race the crayon back and forth and up and down on the page. Done! Now can we play, he’d shout. 
But then every once in a while I’d see this glimmer of hope. He’d get invested in what he was making. Maybe just for a minute or sometimes even two. And he’d be so proud of what he’d made. 
We are Batman
He loves Super Heroes. We were at Michael’s one afternoon and found a set of pre-colored 8x8 canvasses in bright colors. They screamed for Super Hero logos to be painted on them. 
We were both invested. We sat at the computer and looked at the myriad of Super Hero symbols that there were. We talked about which one would work on the red canvas, the blue, the green. We talked about how he wanted them to all match. He wanted all symbols not some symbols and some faces. 
We planned them out with pencil on the canvas. I drew most of the outlines for him (bad art teacher!) but he drew the “S” for Superman. Then he painted them with as much patience as I’ve ever seen him have for a project. 
His strokes were slow-ish. He took care to stay within the lines. He thought about where to put the two different colors on Superman. 
All in all, this took us about an hour. It’s the longest we’ve ever committed to a single project. Maybe, just maybe, some day he’ll love to be consumed by art like his momma. 

Miss Sara is a founding team member at ORANGE EASEL.  She is a mom, an amateur photographer, a children's church leader, a graphic designer, and a big kid at heart. 

She has a Bachelors of Science from Northwest Missouri State (Journalism, with an emphasis in Design).  Prior to her career as a stay-at-home mom, she worked as the creative services manager at The Kansas City Star.

ORANGE EASEL Classes: Lil' Artists PreK and Open Studio Art
Dear World,

My young son starts to school today . . . It's going to be sort of strange and new to him for awhile, and I wish you would sort of treat him gently. You see, up to now he's been king of the roost . . . He's been boss of the backyard . . . His mother has always been near to soothe his wounds and repair his feelings.

But now things are going to be different.

This morning he's going to walk down the front steps, wave his hand, and start out on the great adventure . . . It is and adventure that might take him across continents, across oceans . . . It's an adventure that will probably include wars and tragedy and sorrow . . . To live his life in the world he will have to live in, will require faith and love and courage.

So, World, I wish you would sort of look after him . . . Take him by the hand and teach him things he will have to know.

But do it gently, if you can.

He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, that all men are not true.
But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero . . . that for every crooked politician there is a great and dedicated leader . . . Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend.
Steer him away from envy, if you can . . . and teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

In school, World, teach him it is far more honorable to fail that to cheat . . . Teach him to have faith in his own idea, even if everyone says they are wrong . . . Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with tough people.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon . . . Teach him to listen to all men--but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take just the good that siphons through.

Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he's sad . . . Teach him there is no shame in tears . . . Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success.

Treat him gently, World, if you can, but don't coddle him . . . Because only the test of fire makes fine steel . . . Let him have the courage to be impatient . . . Let him have the patience to be brave.
Let him be no other man's man . . . Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself.

Because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.

This is quite and order, World, but see what you can do . . . He's such a nice little fellow, my son!

By Dan Valentine
To all new kindergartners:  Go be awesome.  ~ ORANGE EASEL

A beginners tutorial

Our first Open Art session, we chose metal stamping.  

I love painting, but there's something really special about working with metal.
We choose basic zinc coated washers that you get from the hardware store.  I also had some blank dog tags and copper squares that were left over from a previous jewelry project.  The thinner squares and dog tags didn't stamp as well as the washers. 

Materials needed:

Washers of any size.  We used these.
Steel bench block
Metal stamps
double-sided tape
The metal stamps that we have in the studio are from Harbor Freight and Hobby Lobby.  They are relatively inexpensive (under $15) and come in a variety of sizes and scripts.  
they are never in alphabetical order
The bench block is important for making sure that you have a underlying surface that isn't going to "give" when you hammer on it.  In absence of a stamping block, try hammering your washer on smooth concrete.  We got our bench blocks from Hobby Lobby for around $11.00.

The double-sided tape is optional but it really helped to stabilize the washer on the block; the process was tricky enough without having to worry about the washer sliding around on the block.

The process:

Step one: Pick out your washer and secure it to the bench block using the tape.  We used our bench blocks on the floor.  I felt like the kids had a better success rate working on their knees verses sitting in a chair.  

Wider base of support and better core stability = more likely to hit the target.

Step two: Decide what you're going to spell and pick out your letters.  You can get really technical on how to space your letters and do the math to make sure that your word is perfectly centered on the washer.  

With the kids, we were just happy to get the letters stamped clearly!

getting all set up...floor, steel block, washer, letter stamp, hammer.
Step three: Hammer away.  You have to hold the post really-really-really firmly on the washer.  And then make sure it doesn't move.  And, you have to hit the stamp post squarely and with a decent amount of force.  In a perfect world, it only takes ONE strike.   Ha!
The instructors here found that our artist were most successful at striking the post if someone else was holding it.  We had them hammer it more than once in order to really make the letter "stick."  

Holding a metal post next to a metal block and giving a child a hammer sounds more dangerous than it really is.  Keep your fingertips curled under and it doesn't smart when they miss.

Really, my fingers are just fine.
one of our instructors holding the stamp for a young artist to hammer
Step four: Once you have your letters punched, use a sharpie marker to color in the grooves.  Wipe the excess marker off so that ONLY the deep grooves of the letters are colored-in.  

Step five: Finish with string, beads, and other adornments.  Some of our kiddos made necklaces and some made bracelets.  

We made paper beads for many of ours.

Have you ever made paper beads before?  Stay tuned for a tutorial for that project! 
example of our paper beads

Other Metals projects for kids:

Recycled Can Robots from Spoonful
String and Nail Art from Wedding Window
Painting on foil from Picklebums
Foil Figures from Mrs Knights Smartest Artists
We didn't *start* here.  

Yes, we're a new business in Liberty.  

But what you may not know is that there are years of failures and successes that have brought us to THIS starting point.  

We started in a basement art studio as Miss Allison's Art, LLC.  

And then we learned a lot...
To those of you who know this story already:

I cannot put into words the gratitude that I feel towards the families of Miss Allison's Art.  If you trekked down the treacherous outside staircase, took art classes in a flooding basement, and waited in a hot (or cold) car while your child was in a class...YOU have built this.  

You saw the potential instead of the flaws and you kept coming back.  Thank you for being my guinea pigs for over two years.  This studio--this brand--I will build perfectly for you.  Minus the chickens.

Allison May Jensen
Owner Miss Allison's Art, LLC dba Orange Easel

January 2012

A friend mentioned in passing that Allison Jensen, a Liberty stay-at-home-mom, should teach art lessons.  As an former corporate trainer, current preschool teacher, childcare provider, lifetime artist, and natural risk-taker that idea seemed perfectly reasonable.  

March 2012

As a test, Allison sent an email to friends offering up some art classes over Liberty Spring Break. Classes were taught in the dining room and living room of the Jensen home.  Which meant the house had to be cleaned of family clutter BEFORE class and then cleaned of art clutter AFTER class.

The classes were well-received; so when the school year was over, she expanded the line-up and offered classes throughout the summer.   The LLC, website, and blog followed shortly.

August 2012

Tired of cleaning the family clutter, Allison built out her previously, half-finished basement into an art studio with it's own entrance.  Miss Allison's Art, LLC held it's first classes in the new [clean] studio on September 9th. 

September 2013

After testing out a number of different scheduling systems and class formats, Miss Allison's Art settled on the current layout of grade level classes with monthly media focuses.

February 2014

Miss Allison's Art gained another teacher [and Allison finally had the other half of her brain]. Sara Woolfolk joined the teaching team.

May 2014

Miss Allison's Art announced that there would be an EXPANSION to 249 W Mill St in Liberty.

Later in May 2014

The Orange Easel brand was born.  Many inquire how the name came to be.  Allison and Sara gathered a group of super creative friends over on Friday night, covered the papers with butcher paper, provided sharpies and wine.  The rest is history.

July 2014

Miss Allison's Art, LLC dba Orange Easel took possession of the leased property on Mill St and began an 4-week whirlwind transformation of the space.  It included a shopping trip to the West Bottoms antique stores, late nights doing construction projects, and lots of orange glossy paint. 

July 1, 2014

Orange Easel launched its website with registration for the fall line-up---completely on the faith that construction would be done in time. 

Allison was [mostly] confident she would be able to find the perfect teaching staff for a schedule of classes that was THREE times the number of classes previously offered in the basement.  

July 31, 2014

The very last class was held at Miss Allison's Art basement studio.  At 4:00pm, the trucks, vans, and cars were loaded with supplies and equipment and driven one mile down the road to the new Orange Easel.

AUgust 1, 2014

Our brand new Orange Easel space made is debut at a lively, casual Open House.   It smelled like new paint and everything sparkled.  (It will never be that shiny again and that's exciting).

On August 4, Orange Easel held it's first class.

Stay TUNED...

WITNESS our story as it unfolds.  This is still just the beginning...
CLICK the photo to see all the details about Preschool Playtimes
Every Tuesday afternoon, there's a playgroup that meets here at Orange Easel.  Everyone is invited over to survive that post-nap, pre-dinner "witching hour."  

Our instructors take care of setting up intentional play stations, maintaining the stations during the playgorup and all the clean-up afterwards!  

Enjoy social time with your friends and fellow parents while the kids explore in our creative playroom.  Come-and-go as your schedule allows. Parent handouts are provided that describe each of the stations and their play-benefits.  To view our handout for August 5th, click here.
Exploring a "small world" invitation on top of the fort (rocks, dinosaurs, and tree blocks)
Each week has a different set of activities and a different a educational focus:

1st Tuesday: FINE MOTOR
2nd Tuesday: GROSS MOTOR
3rd Tuesday: SENSORY PLAY

$10.00 per child (12 months and up)
**$5.00 discounted rate for enrolled students** 

IMPORTANT: We take all forms of credit and debit cards in the studio.  No cash or checks.


open house recap


Thank you to everyone who attended our Open House on Friday night.  This place was hoppin'!

I couldn't have imagined a better way to kick off our new brand than to celebrate with 150 of my closest friends!

We had some t-shirt winners.  Congratulations to Jaxy Thorn, Jodi Boring, Sheryl Downs, and Adelyn all have "MAKE SOMETHING" t-shirts to pick up the studio sometime this week!

Check out our slideshow of pictures from the event below: