As a kid, I LOVED trying out new artsy things. As I might have mentioned before, our daughter has sort of developed the same sense of realistic sensibilities as I have. While she’s definitely got the creativity and imagination going full tilt, we’re both VERY literal in our interpretations of things. Filling a loose, free-flowing pattern on something is an uncomfortable concept to her. Why not just make it into something figural, something REAL?
Which is why I try to introduce her to new artistic techniques from time to time. We did some Pollock splatters. We did some Picasso shapes. We looked closely like O’Keefe. Now I thought we’d give some Seurat a try…
Seurat was one of the key players in developing “pointillism.” Similar to expressionism (which was more about capturing EMOTIONS), pointillism was more about capturing an image through LIGHT. About how color is not always just ONE color, but sometimes many different colors all the many different ways light hits it. “You know how your skin looks light in the sun? At nighttime, doesn’t it look more dark and blue?” I asked her. And she agreed.
I set up a few simple things ahead of time…Instead of messy finger paints, I got a rainbow stamp pad, which had a variety of colors we could use. I also found a sample of Seurat’s work (like “La Parade de Cirque ” or “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”), which were easy ones to show her the basic idea, and tell her the concept of how we were going to try to paint the light…
I thought the concept of freestyle figure painting might be a little complex for a kid, and since she’s four, I decided it might be easier to draw a quick outline of what we’d like to “paint” on, so we didn’t lose focus.
I don’t know about most kids, but to our daughter, anything that SOUNDS like a “lesson” is instantly rejected. I get better response from her if I create a sense of adventure and exploration, as opposed to sitting her down and saying (in a stuffy school marm accent), “Here’s what we’re going to learn today.” Just doesn’t work. So I say things like, “I thought it would be cool if we could try to do what this guy did in his picture.” Works MUCH better!
So she was ready to go…but then stopped short when she looked at the stamp pad and realized there was no brown. She wanted her character to be brown. He HAD to be brown. And there, my friends, is the lesson: color mixing using pointillism! I said, “since there’s no brown, we can make it LOOK like brown by adding lots of colors to it. Then when you look from far away, it will look like brown.” She was a little hesitant, but she dove in….
She played with different colors to sort of get a brown color going–oranges, reds, yellows and blues. And it was working! I, on the other hand, made rainbow monsters. But still, I was trying to demonstrate how the different colors blended when you looked at them from far away, without actually blending. An up side of using the ink pad stamper also, is that the colors DON’T run together, so you truly get a “point” of color. She noticed how from faraway, her drawing looked sort of brown, but closeup he was made up of lots of little fingerprints of different colors.
As for setup, it was one of the cleanest “messy projects” we’ve done in awhile! But to keep her from wiping her finger on herself, I wet a paper towel and put it next to her. This way, she could change the colors she wanted to use, without too much mess.
We had fun just blending the colors. It was calming. It was relaxing. The soft little pat-pat-pat sounds of our fingers on the paper was quite comforting.
She’s been learning a lot about elements (mostly from her VERY favorite science game, called Toca Lab–an EXCELLENT learning game, by the way), and she said, “We are making these characters out of tiny little dots…just like people are made up of elements.” YES! Exactly! And again, we talked about how color looks different in different light and different times of the day (a concept that Monet, especially, was really trying to capture).
She still found a way to get messier than you would imagine with a stamp pad…!
So here are our final doodles! Myla’s on the left, and mine on the right. It was such a relaxing, fun project! She really got into it. But the point is, it doesn’t matter what the end result is: it’s more important to not only make something fun with your special person, but to enjoy the time together. One of the coolest thing about being a parent (for me) is the opportunity to show someone something COMPLETELY new to them, and watch that fascination with it and amazement for the very first time. It’s almost like being able to experience it for the first time yourself, and see it through new eyes. It’s one of my most very favorite things.
On a side note, we are about 13 days away from the end of our Kickstarter campaign, with only a little under $5,000 left to go! If you’re interested in supporting our collaborative book project, would you PLEASE consider pledging (there are some great rewards, as well as copies of the actual BOOK), or at least sharing the link? I want to share our weird story and unusual doodles with the world! Thank you so much!