Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Process Based Art with Spray Painting

Today the daycare kids and Alex did a fun spray paint project!

I'm a big fan of process-based art, which allows the project to be open-ended with no expectation on the final result. There are lots of times project-based art is fun and creative and even beneficial for skill building, but process-based is really about creativity and expression, not meant to meet anyone's approval or idea of 'pretty', and that's why I love it so much.

So today we set out to have some fun with paint.

I always buy things I think I'll have a good idea for later, and maybe half the time actually use it. But this is one I did get to use! I picked up these spray bottles for less than a dollar each on sale and thought they'd be great for a spray painting activity.

I made blue, lime green, yellow and red.

This isn't my idea, many smarties have done this and if you've been in the early childhood education field for even a second you'll know about this fun art activity.

The paint I used was water-based poster paint. I have several giant bottles I had picked up for about a $1 for all of them at a yard sale. I hadn't used them yet (they were mostly new so pretty full) and I knew they'd be great for this! I mixed each color with about one cup of water and whisked it to get the lumps out, then poured it into the spray bottle and capped it.

I taped up art paper (thicker for painting) to our vinyl fence- counting on the idea they would wash off easily enough. (I usually do things this way- assuming it will all work out in the end! haha) Then each of the kids chose a color to start with.

And they're off!

Then they swapped colors.

Color #2 going on. I set the nozzles where I thought they'd get a wider spray, like a mist, but it was too far out and they ended up being more of a stream. The kids wouldn't let me change them though because they liked the streaming paint! I think it was kind of like shooting water guns for them, which we ban at my house, so this was fun for them.

Color # 3 after another swap.

Little Levi, just under 3 years old, can do this activity with no problems (though I may have set his paper a teensy bit high).

And this is one of the reasons why for the most part, grown-ups should stay out the way when kids create. After the 3rd and 4th colors, I thought their papers looks about done! Their pictures were lovely and I was getting a little worried that more paint would cover up their other colors and it would all end in a muddy brown mess, which we've all seen happen. But I stepped back to keep myself from jumping in and let them go.

They wanted to cover all the white, so they weren't ready to finish until that had happened. Then they discovered they could flourish the bottle with a 'swish and flick' kind of motion, while they were spraying, to make arches and interesting lines. Aren't kids awesome!!?

Right now is about when I'm starting to give more serious thought to how I might clean my fence...

Now they are done. We just need to let the Sun do his job.

You can see the red lines showing through. I just love these! 

Later, after lunch, I went to take them down and bring them in. I noticed the dried flakes on the art. I think these were paint particles that didn't dissolve all the way when I mixed them up. Total accident but I think it adds a nice texture and interest to their art!