April 18, 2012

create (with kids): rain art

I once organized a sculptural exhibit where we displayed all our drawings along with the sculptures. It was great fun to tack all those beautiful smudged, coffee-stained drawings next to the polished finished pieces. It was a study in process, as well as a snapshot into the shifts and detours we can encounter along our creative journey. I've always loved the art of the process, which is just one reason I'm smitten with Andy Goldsworthy. The way that he introduces his materials into nature, allowing nature to dictate the final outcome, is inspiring. Since we've been awash in rain lately, we decided to do a Goldsworthy-inspired artwork putting all of our plentiful rain to use.


 First we did some watercolor painting onto a Arche's cold press, 9 x 12 sheet. This is the paper we use for most of our paintings. It's more expensive than student-grade paper but it's sturdier too, which allows Isia to rework and experiment with the surface without it falling apart. It's also thick enough to hold up to lots of water and you can even create a whole new painting on the backside. Isia started with a brush, but ended up using her fingers just as much. She's really fascinated with her fingerprint these days!



Then it was time to introduce her painting to the rain:

Do you see those beautiful interactions between rain and paint on the surface? That's another reason hefty paper is needed for this project, otherwise the paper will soak up water from underneath instead of just pooling on the surface. Then, when it dries...
... you can see beautiful burst patterns where the rain hit the paper. Looking closely, you can also see the imprint of each raindrop too, which makes the paper appear speckled. They're like little white rain "fingerprints" in the paint!

A toddler recommendation: For our little people with short attention spans, you might consider creating your painting in one sitting then stashing it away "for a rainy day."

An older kid recommendation: Older kids can make guesses on what they think will happen when the rain hits the paint. After-wards you can discuss why the rain leaves white dots behind (the force of the rain drop propels all the paint out of that area) and follow-up with other artful experiments like collecting raindrops, here. It would also be fun talk to debate whether or not they think nature is an artist too in their artwork.

12 comments :

  1. Oh wow! We need to try this! Oh and the one finger painting is called "finger dots" which must be accompanied by this sound "doot, doot, doot..." LOL

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  2. "doot, doot, doot"... I love it!

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  3. I had not thought of having my toddler fingerpaint with the water colors - duh!! So obvious and wonderful. I love this because I had a teacher at a program I ran that used to do rainbows with smudges of colors (in order) and then the rain. One day, we hit the sweet spot and a rainbow actually came out when the children went out to look at the transformed masterpieces. Wow!!

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    1. That was an Isia idea, all paint turns into fingerpaint these days (smile). I love the rainbow idea- maybe we can inspire one to come out for us too, that's amazing!

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  4. I love this way of creating! We've done it before with drawing a picture with washable markers and then taking it out into the rain! But, we will be giving this a try RIGHT NOW because my daughter, almost 3, saw this post over my shoulder and said, "I want to do it right now. Get the stuff." And ... it just happens to be raining!

    Thanks so much for sharing on this week's Kids Co-Op Linky!

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  5. Yea, I am so happy she liked the idea! Would love to see the final product, and am always happy to link up. You are all doing great work!

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  6. We have been dealing with rain as well and this activity looks like it would be right up our alley! Thanks for sharing with the weekly kids co-op. I've pinned your idea!

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    1. I've also featured it on my blog today as my favorite of the week!

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    2. What an honor, thank you so much!

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  7. Beautiful idea! Thank you so much for linking it up to the Kids Co-op. I'm sharing it today as one of my favorites! (and pinning it too!)

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    1. Yea, so happy you like it. And thank you for the honor of being featured- that's fantastic!

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