Saturday, July 21, 2012

Painting: Round 2

We had been doing a lot of ice and water play outside to beat the heat in Cohort 5 lately, but last week we were blessed with a slightly less incredibly hot day than usual. We decided to tough it out inside and paint. As soon as I brought the drop cloth in and brought the canvas to the floor, IS knew what was going to happen next and excitedly approached the area where I was setting up. LC was not with us last time so she was a little puzzled as to why I was so focused on my task (usually I play a very observant role in my classroom). AS was too busy with the mirror in the bathroom to give much thought to my actions.

I brought the yellow paint down next. LC moved closer to me and observed what I was doing. After I sat down she used my arm to stand up and closely watched the canvas as I squirted the yellow paint onto it in a circular motion. IS watched, too, then eagerly started in. After only a split second of observing IS's eagerness, LC joined him. Very quickly they were both working on moving the yellow paint around the canvas.

At first, IS moved his hands back and forth horizontally in the space directly in front of where he sat. LC watched him and copied this move with her right hand, leaving her left hand still on the canvas. It only took a minute of becoming orientated to the texture of the paint before LC had her own idea of how to do this thing, though. She began to move her right hand across the canvas vertically. 

At first she stuck to the area in front of her but after that was covered she used her legs to boost herself into a bear crawl like position where she could further her reach. She started to use her left hand a bit, too. Then she sat herself back down and used both hands simultaneously to cover another corner of the canvas. IS continued his horizontal motion for a bit before noticing LC's vertical approach. He also figured out that the black paint from last time was still pliable enough to be mixed with the yellow paint. This was a discovery that I had along with him! Who knew! He moved the paint in a circular motion to mix it as much as possible. 

At this point, AS finally decided she wanted to come over. She tentatively touched the part of the canvas that IS and LC had not gotten to yet. This got a little yellow paint on her hands. She looked at them and laughed then held them up for me to see. Then she painted her own face. After that, AS was done and came to me to get some help removing the paint from her body. Meanwhile, LC crawled away leaving only IS at the canvas. He made quick work of what was left of the yellow paint. He moved it horizontally, vertically, and any other way that would mix it into the black paint from before. Once he was finished, he also came to me for help getting cleaned up.

I look forward to continuing to see how the children utilize paint in our room. I was amazed at how devoted they were to one approach of getting the paint across the canvas (whether it was vertical or horizontal or circular). It was also interested to see the different intent behind their use of the paint. IS was very focused on mixing it, for example, while AS only wanted to see what it would do to herself. Even though we had only painted as a group once before, the children were able to anticipate what the drop cloth meant and what to do when they felt satisfied with their painting experience. The time we spent painting before was such a core experience for us that it stuck with them which, along with my own remarks about what I noticed and what we were doing, helped them to know "What's next?" This was instrumental in making our transition to and from painting a success!

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