painting with kids

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A few months ago I read a post on another blog about teaching kids about abstract art. I’m not going to link to it because I’m not that bitchy, but it was just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. The project was filled with rules and structure and admonishments to help your child not mix the paint together too much lest they make that “ugly brown colour” and the piece would no longer be suitable for display. The child wasn’t even allowed to put the paint on themselves, they had to pick a few colours which the parent then dripped onto the paper in limited quantities. What a way to teach a child about art, about creativity, about using their imagination to express themselves! It just seemed really… control freak-y, and less about a child creating and more about the mom having a piece of art (with no ugly brown) to display in her home. My technique for painting with kids is:

-get a kid
-give them paint

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literally having so much fun

Like WHO CARES if they make a mess, if they scrub the paper so hard it gets holes, if they mix all the colours together and yes, end up with brown paint. Maybe they LIKE doing it that way, and if they aren’t happy with the result then they will learn to not do it that way next time. The other week Gwen and her little friend did some painting together, I just let them do what they wanted and what was most interesting was that at 2 1/2 they each had completely different techniques. Gwen globbed on loads of paint in bright colours, all over her paper. Her friend stuck to a few pastel colours, dabbing on small amounts and focussing the bulk of his brushwork to one section of the paper, with a few dots and lines on the rest of the page. They were each expressing themselves they way they chose to, and I think that the end results were so much better than some forced, weird, rules-based “abstract” art.

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