Art projects are one of our family favorites, but cleaning up, not so much. So I was excited to try Artrage for iPad, an application for virtual painting and drawing. And wow, it is simply wonderful.

Related: The mini Monet art app for iPad

The app offers different brush techniques such as watercolors and oil painting with different tools, gradients, textures and colors.

I felt like I was painting as I moved my finger across the iPad, and my kids created some colorful masterpieces without a colorful mess. They also enjoyed experimenting with the different brush tools and techniques, without me ever having to scrape off paint from their hands.

Best of all, their masterpieces can be imported, customized, then emailed out to share. It’s a great high-tech holiday activity, or a special addition to those holiday ecards. Maybe a watercolor portrait of the family will have everyone smiling all at once, as opposed to those actual family portraits.