"What you do with [a] tool, where you go with it: there's no correct answer to that question. At bottom that's what we're talking about when we say, "open-ended art," or "play-based curriculum." It's a place where there is no right way or wrong way, but rather tools, materials, consideration for the other people, and time to explore."
(His entire post is really great. You'll want to go read it.)
Using open-ended activities and play is my favorite way to teach. I love offering choices and encouraging kids to explore their own ideas. And I love to see how the kids use the materials and what they will create - the same activity can yield different results. Here's what I saw from the easel this week.
As Tom said: There's no correct way to use the paint and brushes, no right type of picture. Patterns, designs, color mixing, representational art. All happened that day. And all are expressions of the individual artist.