I’ve been afraid of paints. I love the idea. We have plenty of paints, brushes, papers. Nicely organized in our craft drawer. Bottled up. CLEAN!
Maybe it was the sunshine. Maybe it was my son’s inquisitive “That is?” (Trans: “What’s that?”) every time he saw inside that drawer. Finally, I broke down.
I got out the paints, cups, brushes. Dressed my son in tie-dye and camoflauge because certainly that would mask any untoward paint specks that might land on him. Made him don a cute art smock. And moved everything outside. (Hey, my first time with paints, I am not ready to do this indoors!).
We set up shop at the end of the driveaway, and started painting. First, I showed him how each brush matched each paint cup and color. He got that concept pretty quickly.
Then he smeared all the colors together on the paper. I watched him for a bit. I could see he was curious and having fun, but didn’t really have a clue what to DO with the colors that showed up when he put brush to paper. Finally my teacher side won. Channeling a little Lucy Calkins, I “came alongside” to “teach into” his painting. (That’s for you JN and MK!).
I decided to teach him some basic paint strokes.
First, we made circles. Everything circular became “the sun.” He makes good circles with both hands. Maybe he’ll be ambidextrous?
Then I painted some grass. He was unimpressed. So I taught him dots (pointellism for you artsy folks). We made “dot-dot-dot” flowers in the grass, and I think they looked very impressionistic!
Next, we painted lines. I modeled several vertical lines, then he made some decent lines of his own. He likes to keep going over the same lines again and again.
Finally, we were ready to try painting a full picture. I asked him what we should paint. Of course, he said “Truck!” He painted the wheels, and I drew a haphazard round cab over the top (I make NO claims at actually being artistic, even though I enjoy crafts!). Then he painted lots of yellow lights all over the truck! I suggested we draw the ground under the truck. He remembered the “dot-dot-dot” flowers and we added those. Then he drew a green sun. So I added a line, and made it a tree (sorry, I AM a color-in-the-lines person!).
Our co-painting turned out rather nice – I talked him through everything we had painted, pointing out each step.
THEN, he was ready to fly solo! I gave him a new sheet of paper and said, “Paint another picture!” At first, he wanted “Mommy do it” but I told him it was his turn. I gave him a few prompts, like “Do lines,” or “How about some dots?” and he proceeded to duplicate most of our combined painting we had just done – all on his own!! Here it is:
Lest you think I have boy genius here, he draws all the time in his coloring book and on the chalkboard, so I knew he could draw shapes and patterns. But this is the most detailed drawing he’s done yet. Since he’s only used paints one time before when we did the CraftyParent.com project, I am excited he picked up on the new medium so quickly!
How thrilled was I to see his first finished artwork! (And I don’t think he had a drop of paint on his clothing! Although he must have inherited Mommy’s need for clean because anytime paint got on his hands, he had to rinse in the water bucket…which was a lot!)
We hung the paintings on the gazebo to dry … Daddy was very impressed when he arrived home from work!
So… I’m not sure what you, dear readers, will take away from this Tot Explorations post – it truly was an “exploration” for us! Maybe the lesson is: find ways to raise the level of your child’s experiences by modeling new techniques, and working alongside your children to push their limits.
What kinds of things do you create with paints? Now that I’m branching into this new world of painting, I need more ideas!