Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Painting with Combs and Small Brushes

We recently had an Art Camp for 5s and 6s at my church. Cindy and I enjoyed an intense three days of creativity. (Here are some things I learned.)

One of our painting activities was using combs and small (recycled) brushes and paint. Set up was easy. Put out the tools. Put out the paper. Put out the pans. Add paint. Go. (Oh, and a pencil for names.)

The set up - just add paint

Our goal in this activity - and all the activities - was for kids to explore, experience, and experiment. The kids accommodated us on this. They painted with gusto and focus.

Paint on the table? It'll wash.

The combs we used were purchased in a set at a big box store. The various sizes and handles provided different experiences with the paint. The brushes used were from hair dye kits. The angle of the handle provided some different ways to use the paint.


For more exploration, you could add other paintbrushes of different sizes, pastry brushes, or hair brushes. Or cut "combs" from cardboard (zigzag, wavy, and other shapes in the end of a square of cardboard).

Our Art Camp was focused on process - on using materials in creative ways and on trying out different ideas. Our goal wasn't to necessarily produce "something."

In fact, we talked about artists and the different kinds of paintings (drawings, sculptures, etc.) they create. Sometimes artists make pictures of people (portraits). Sometimes artists make pictures of things (still lifes). Sometimes artists make pictures of places or nature (landscapes). Sometimes artists make designs (abstract). We experimented with these different types of pictures.

But not in this activity. This one was all about exploring the tools and making designs. We looked at the tracks in the paint. We made large and small blocks of color. We became calmer as we stroked paint across the page.

So often we adults get caught up in "what are you making" and forget "what are you experiencing." All learning (especially in early childhood) must be about the experience and the building of knowledge about the world, about others, and about selves.

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