Yesterday and today we brought our painting easel outside during Explore Time. Each day we created a wait list because the easel only has two painting spots and there were lots of children who wanted to explore this art media. I enjoy watching children paint at the easel for a variety of reasons. It is clearly a satisfying sensory experience for everyone–the bright colors, the mixing colors, the thick, oozing, slippery texture. The large format paper allows for big sweeping movements with the brush and full body painting which keeps some of our more active children (i.e. pretty much all of the children) more engaged then sitting at a table with smaller paper. It is also different than painting at a table because you can’t see what the other person is painting. It encourages children to pause, walk around to the other side and check out the other child’s paintings. Similarly, those who are waiting for a turn grow curious and watch how other paintings unfold. Here are some of the watchers . . . This watching and the conversation that accompanies it leads to inspiration, new types of experimentation and the exchange of ideas, paint colors and encouragement.
Not every painting has a specific story attached to it and this does not diminish the process of learning and expressing oneself in this language. The serious expressions, the brush strokes (both quick and careful), the tuning out of all surrounding play and noises and the calm, measured breathing all indicate that each of these kids was immersed in the creative flow when using this medium. That said, some of the photos below include a description or story connected with the painting, some of them quote the children describing their own process and some show the children making artistic decisions and planning what they are going to do next. Notice how some of the children influence each other, both in process and in story.