Monday, February 24, 2014

Watercolor Painting

Many of you have probably seen the work your children have been doing with watercolor painting.  Last semester we focused on the strokes and movements our brushes made and how we used them with different shapes of paper.  

After exploring first with this new shape of paper, I noticed the children exploring their space.  To do this, they used long lines.  It is a quick and easy way to go from one end of the paper to the other.  I wondered if making lines was easy for them as they were getting used to the materials. 
“Look, look, lines!”
“I make lines like this!”
“My water is turning black.”

I decided on something less long for the next shape to see if lines would be as significant.  What I saw were lines, but also an exploration of “marks.”  I saw some dots, splotches, and collections of paint.   It was interesting to compare the strategies of each child now that they had two examples of work to compare.  This was something that was carried on throughout this exploration.
“I like drawing snakes.”
“My paint is falling down.”

After seeing more lines, I was beginning to think the edges of the paper was having a large effect on the technique.  What I saw with circles was of course, more circular marks.  It was obvious the children were inspired by the paper because they mimicked it with paint.  What were straight lines, turned to curved ones.  I saw dots, splotches, and circular collections of paint.  Some children experimented with the defined bottom/top of their paper by twisting  it around as they worked.  The children had a lot to say.

“I make dots, big and blue.”                  “Do you like my circles?”
“I did a circle when I did this.”                “I’m painting a laugh.”
“I’m going to draw the circles like the paper.”

Seeing the children experimenting with the edge of their paper and the absence of a defined top/bottom made me think of a triangle.  It was long, it had edges, and deciding on which edge to “use” was up to the painter.  Here I saw a lot of experimentation with the space.  Children used many of the strategies at once in their own way. 
“I like to paint all the colors together.”
“I made circles and lines.”
“I’m making a triangle!”

With this knowledge under our belts from last semester, I have seen more "creations" with the materials instead of random marks.  The children have started talking about making more than just patterns.  

Now that we mostly know how to use the materials, we can get started on becoming more intentional with our strokes.  Even starting to plan our paintings.

I have started this process by asking the children what they would like to paint a picture of each time they come to the table.  This helps them become more aware of a plan.  Some children have an idea in mind, and others do not talk about it or might not have an idea.  This comes in time.  My hope is that with more discussions and individual attention, the children will be able to become more aware of their work with these materials.

Some of our work so far: