Friday, October 23, 2015

Watercolor Workshop

This morning I had Watercolor Workshop for ages 3-5. It was easy to do and both the kids and the parents loved it!

This program was inspired 100% by this post on CraftWhack. I saw it on Pinterest a few months ago and the next day Watercolor Workshop was on the calendar for October!

First, I started with a short storytime. I read Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (accompanied by our golden retriever puppet and my homemade sticky spots, which sadly, are losing their sticky) and Perfect Square by Michael Hall. The kids liked them both, although I think the started to get a little squirmy toward the end of Perfect Square. No problem though! It was time to move on to the painting!

I had five tables set up, each with the supplies for a different watercolor technique to try. I handed each child a watercolor palette and told them to carry it around with them from table to table. Since the kids were with their parents, I let them move around freely between the tables so they could try all the different things. This definitely worked and I think treating each table as a "station" made this all extra exciting for the kids. At each station I had: my sample (see below), a sign explaining what technique to do and how to do it, and all the necessary supplies. A PDF of the 5 signs can be downloaded here! These signs really, really helped because the parents were able to show their kids what to do without having to wait for me to come to them. Again, a PDF of the 5 signs can be downloaded here. I would highly recommend using them or making your own if you do a program like this!

Here are the five watercolor techniques:

Wax Crayon Resist

This is probably the most popular and most "classic" watercolor technique. It's easy to do and especially cool because the crayon drawing is invisible until you paint over it (unless you use a crayon color other than white). It's like a little magic trick, the way the watercolors resist the wax to reveal the drawing. Some kids totally loved revealing their hidden art; some were frustrated by not being able to see what they were drawing. But I think most of the kids didn't feel strongly one way or the other, barely noticing the wax resist at all and just enjoyed painting and mixing colors on the paper. That's cool too!

Draw Over with Pencil

When I made my sample above, more of the watercolor dried than I wanted. I guess I just waited a few minutes too long to start doodling, but actually it was still fun to draw on the colorful canvas I'd painted myself. I told the kids to try drawing on some parts when it was kind of wet and some parts when it was dry so they could see how the two differed, but actually many of them drew on it first and then painted over it. Not exactly what I'd envisioned, but again, it doesn't really matter. The kids had fun being creative with different art mediums so it's all fine by me. This also wound up being the station that the slower working kids skipped, so only a handful of the group even went to this table at all.

Blot with Paper Towel

This requires very wet paint. All you do is wad up a ball of paper towel and blot at the wet paint to make a white, textured shape appear. Some of mine look like sideways hearts! For whatever reason, maybe just that it was a little less cool than the others, I don't know if this station was much of a hit. It wound up being the table where the kids just painted pretty pictures. Eh, again, doesn't matter since everyone had fun.

Masking Tape Resist

This one is always more of a challenge than it should be because ripping masking tape off of watercolor paper is just plain hard. It's definitely an adult job and not for pre-school hands (not even necessarily for all adult hands). BUT today, I figured out a secret accidentally! When I grabbed what I thought was three rolls of masking tape from the draw, it turns out I'd accidentally grabbed a roll of painters tape instead. It wound up being wayyyy easier to pull off! So that's the secret to this! Painters tape! This table was possibly the kids' favorite of all of them. They had a good time painting and mushing around the colors and then were appropriately impressed by their finished products when they saw the perfect, straight, white lines that were revealed upon taking off the tape. Super fun!

Salt on Very Wet Paint

I think this one was one of the parents favorites and one of mine too, although I feel like it was kind of lost of the kids. The effect of the salt doesn't "develop" immediately upon sprinkling; it takes a few minutes and then, as the water colors start to dry around the salt, you really see the coolness of it. Then when the paint is dry, you wipe the all the salt away. For some reason, this sort of reminds me of those Smithsonian crystal growing kits we played with as kids, except in paint form. You can see the results best in the blue part of my sample. Again, maybe this one was just more impressive for the adults than the kids, but they had fun painting anyway and making sure their paint was extra wet for the salt.

Overall, what a great time! The kids all got really creative this morning!

What worked least: What what worked least is actually that this program worked so well, that I should have made it longer! It was scheduled for 45-minutes but some of the more meticulous kids didn't get to try everything. With a little more time, maybe they could have. But I'd say that's a pretty good problem to have though, right?

What worked best: This program was a total success! It was my first time doing it and I wasn't sure what to expect but it was really, really fun (again, thank you x 1000 to this post on CraftWhack). But probably because it surprised me and helped me for the future, but I'd say the best thing about this morning was my accidental painters tape discovery. I can't believe how much easier painters tape is to rip off than masking tape. I mean, it makes sense, as this is painters tape's only job, but man! Of course!

What other art programs can I do? This was awesome!

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