Monday, November 19, 2012

Art Provocations: Infants and Paint

Offering art to infants can seem like just an invitation to creating a mess, but the seriousness and intensity that E shows during his first experience with paint banishes that thought in an instant.
For E's first paint, I laid a large drop cloth canvas on the floor in the room and placed a piece of butcher paper on top.  He was instantly interested when I laid him on his back near the area I set up and immediately rolled to his belly to grab the paper.  He tasted the paper and squeezed it in his hands while I dotted a small amount of paint on the paper.  E continued to manipulate the paper and in the process placed his hand in the paper, but never really seemed to notice the paint.  I know that he felt the change in texture and his eyebrows show us that he was very interested in figuring out this paper-ness and how it is changing through his manipulations.
Creating an art provocation for a young infant, 4 months old in this case, involves setting up an opportunity for focusing on only a few qualities of an art medium.  This is the intention behind our Process Based Art approach.  For us, it is about offering children the ability to get to know the art mediums like they would a good friend that they can then get to know and later use to tell stories, express themselves, explore and experiment or create new experiences.

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