October 25, 2011

Dipping Our Toes into Wet on Wet Painting

I've been feeling especially Waldorfy lately.  Whenever the seasons change it hits me and suddenly I desire bright colors, gnomes for every occasion, and crafts that require massive stashes of yarn.  It's predictable like clockwork every Spring and Fall.  And this Fall is no exception.

To feed my need for all things bright and warm, we've been experimenting with wet on wet water coloring and everyone is thrilled as pie with their creations.  I learned a little painting story about Tippy Brush and his day in this video.  I was really disappointed that the lady never held up what she'd made for me to see, because who wants to watch a video about teaching a painting technique and never actually get to see what we're making?   But the story was sweet and we made our way despite the lack of visual assistance.

I hate that I didn't get a picture of the kids' work post painting and pre drawing, but I didn't.  If you can imagine, they were simply beautiful water colors swirling and blending across the paper.  They really enjoyed seeing what combination made which new colors.  Haven enjoyed it a little too much (shocking, I know.) and by the end his looked a bit like mud.  But very pretty mud.

This morning, in preparation for making our November calendars, I led them through drawing a scene over their dried water colors that will be the top portion of their calendars (as soon as we find our rulers).

I made this as an example of what they were working towards and we worked primarily on using the side of a crayon or pastel rather than the tip, and then going back in later and adding details with the tip.  Then we added the little rhyme at the top and tried to tie it in to the children's prayer, "Oh God, guide me.  Protect me.  Make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star."  We talked briefly about what people are calling the Arab Spring and how the Fall could be so symbolic of any time when we need to look to God to kindle our lamps.  How's that for digging for meaning?  LOL!

This style of sketching annoyed the pants off of Hannah Jane, who has her way of making art and is apparently not at all interested in doing anything that lacks fine detail.  The blurry, dream like quality of something sketched with the fat side of a crayon did not appeal to her in the least.  But she was a good sport about it. 

They all turned out so sweet!  Tomorrow we'll make the bottom part of our calendars and hang them beside our beds for the month.  This will be their first time making their own calendars, and seeing as how they still can't figure out how in the world we pull a date from that piece of paper on the wall, this should be down right hysterical.  We're doing it mostly because Hannah Jane started a new CD based math program called Teaching Textbooks (which is awesome, by the way).  She took he placement test and as recommended by the company, we ordered her the 4th grade text.  A month in and her average would be 100% if we factored out the lessons based on calendar knowledge.  I can't figure out how a kid who did Saxon for 3 years could possibly not grasp calendars, but she just doesn't get it.  Maybe Saxon's constant calendar work made her shut it out completely.  But now she's humming along above grade level except for those darn calendar days.  So, we're making our own and focusing in on calendar work again, but this time in a whimsical, make it your own with art and color and joy sort of way.  Hopefully it helps!

After I finished the evenings chapter of our family read aloud (right now we're reading Stowaway, by Hesse about a kid who is a Stowaway aboard the Endeavor) I handed bedtime over to Joe for the final tuck in and snuck to the kitchen, whipped out the kids' watercolors, and made this cool little painting from a tutorial I had watched earlier in the day while folding laundry.  Apparently this is a pretty common sort of swirl person and no one in the video knew who to credit the concept to, but it's usually of a person holding a baby.  Well, I swirled mine around super fast, not wanting to get caught by Joe randomly painting a silly Waldorf person in the dimly lit kitchen like a drug addict needing a fix (which is exactly how I feel with this wet on wet painting stuff.  It's intoxicating) and didn't get around to the finishing touch of the baby before I heard footsteps coming down the halls and quickly decided to push all the paint aside and pretend to be a perfectly normal grown up person who doesn't dabble in mason jars of kid paint in the absence of her children.

This morning I held my dried piece in my hands, sans baby, and tried to decide what my person was beholding.  What's that abstract lady looking at so carefully?  I imagined all sorts of things like gems or a grain of sand and I couldn't settle on one, so I asked the kids.  I'm not sure which of them said it first, but they all agreed in the end that she really must be holding a very special little flower.  I added the special flower just for them and no sooner had I colored the last petal than they all broke out into song!  It was so hilarious!  All at once they sang the song from this youtube video they've been obsessed with lately.

They can't get enough of this guy and his head flying around in front of random nature scenes.  They giggle about the flying head, but they sing along and now they've got it memorized, so I can't much complain.  And they love the little boy playing in the mirror.  So now we're calling my shameful midnight painting the Educate These Children Person with Flower!  Haha!  Later in the week I've promised to teach them how to make their own swirl person and then we'll all decide what our people are holding so dear.  Kind of fun, right?  I very much anticipate at least one swirl person will be holding a Transformer or ninja.  LOL! 

Now that I've blogged it, Joe will know my deep dark secret.  I suppose I'll be painting out in the open now, and when his sock drawer is empty because laundry hasn't been done, he'll assume it's because I've been painting.  And he'll probably be right!

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