Experimenting with paint

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We gave always enjoyed painting, but I actually know very little about how to get a good wet on wet result. I am starting to research how to get this working for us.

The first thing we have done is to create these painting boards. These are made of simple MDF board. They are cut about 2cm bigger all round than the A4 paper we use, then sanded lightly. I small still debating whether I will varnish the back.

Today we tried them for the first time. They are very simple, but I really like them. They keep each child’s workspace marked, something we always try to do for many reasons. They also encourage the children to paint right to the edges of the paper whilst still maintaining a mess control. And the best thing is that you simply leave the papers on them to dry, and then wipe them clean when they are dry!

I am continuing to learn so much more about painting and art in general. I do really love the fact that I get to keep learning and experimenting like this!

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Oil Painting

Aren’t these great? These are the results of our first attempt with oils. It was fun. The oil paint we used was nontoxic, unfortunately we still needed to use turpentine for the clean-up. I also realised I need to research some techniques for oils – they don’t paint quite like anything else we’ve used.  More experimenting necessary!

Afterwards, I’ve put all the required stuff into one box set for next time.

I suppose it’s a bit strange to give a toddler oils. It really fits into my wider philosophy of education. The quality of what children are given is important, for several reasons. The first is that if you want children to produce good products, you need to give them good materials. Too many children are turned off art because the quality of what they produce doesn’t meet the standards they would like, but it isn’t  the fault of the child if they are using watered-down children’s paints that don’t work properly. Another reason is that providing quality materials allows children to learn to care for them properly – if there is no need to care for materials, they won’t. Then the adult complains that they can’t look after anything. It also shows respect for the child. Cheap rubbish that breaks in five seconds says you are not important enough to buy quality for – especially if the adult uses the better things!

Having said that, we don’t use oils  everyday. Our ‘everyday’ paint that the children can use with minimal supervision is a watercolour tray. But I still make sure I buy one that works, and teach the children how to use it and how to care for it, including how to pack it away. They don’t yet do this alone, but they are getting better.