Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wet on Wet Watercolor: Winging it with Style

Every month or so, we do wet on wet watercolor painting, a technique used in Waldorf schools from preschool up through the oldest students.  We usually start the year off using one color at a time, moving through the primaries and then begin trying the primaries as couples, creating secondaries.

Although in traditional Waldorf schools, using all three primaries at once is usually something reserved for kindergarten-aged children, at the end of the year, I like to give all of my students a chance to try it out. 

The usual method of wet on wet watercolor painting we use in the classroom is similar to what is described here.  This method is also very time consuming, and only allows for one to two children to paint at one time so they can share the jars of paint.  This time, we tried something a little bit different.

I gave each child their own place mat, watercolor paper, and pipette.  I also set out bowls of red, yellow and blue liquid watercolor.  Before the children began, I spritzed their papers with a spray bottle, so we'd be keeping with our wet on wet technique (though usually we soak it, which probably would have been a good idea here).

Of course, there was a huge oversight on my part - the kids aren't going to pause to watch the paint seep into their papers, mixing and blending into a rainbow of colors.  I'd forgotten the fundamental principle of process art - all the kids care about is the process!  And what do kids love?  Pipettes and puddles!  And this project just happened to combine both!
I heard a lot of 'this is awesome' and 'this project is fun' and lots of colors being named and children generally having a blast, but.....
Eventually, all of their papers began to look like this.

Quick, Miss Lindsey, come up with something and pretend it was part of the original plan all along!!

"Dear friends, let me know when you are finished drip dropping your paint, we have one more thing to do at the end!"

 "Mama, I'm finished!"  

"I wonder what would happen if we put this paper towel over the top of your picture."
"WOW!  That is so coooooool!  Let's take it off."  

Oh, ok, that sounds like a great idea.
Crisis averted, painting saved and even some secondaries to show for it all!



  1. such a fun idea! i bet the paper towels were pretty interesting too! pinning this to my art board!

    1. The paper towels were interesting!! If I do this again (this time on purpose), I'll put a paper towel under the paper as well!


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