Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gravity Painting

Inspired by this way nicer version of gravity painting (care of Let The Wild Rumpus Start: Adventures of a Children's Librarian) that I saw on Storytime Underground's Facebook, I expanded the idea and did my own kind of Jackson Pollock-y art with the kids last week. This was for those entering grades K-2.

I had two different kinds of "gravity painting" for the kids to try. I'd planned on first telling them all about Jackson Pollock, even brought in books to show them them pictures of his work, but I wound up diving right in and skipping the lecture part all together. It just didn't feel right. Anyway, here are the crafts:

Gravity Painting #1

For Gravity Painting #1, I used liquid watercolor, these plastic paint pipettes from S&S, and watercolor paper taped (with painters tape) to the bottom of tables. When the kids came in the room, I asked them to each sit/kneel/stand on the floor (which was covered with butcher paper in preparation for massive drips) in front of a sheet of watercolor paper. I showed them how to use the pipettes--a not-too-difficult-task that they got the hang of immediately--then they started to drip paint down their sheets of paper, letting it make crazy lines and then pool into the paper on the floor. It was easy, but cool! The kids were way more free and uninhibited with this than I was when I made my sample. They totally just kinda felt it! Here are some action shots:

Cool, right? I only wish I didn't run out of watercolor so quickly. I failed to account for the fact that a lot of it would wind up spilled over on the table because, well, these are kids we're talking about. Also, it was messy. I'm not a total dummy, but I hadn't expected this craft to get as messy as it did. I'm talking paint on the walls, paint on the floors, paint on faces, and paint in hair. PAINT EVERYWHERE. It was a lot of paint. And a lot of spills. 

But I guess that means they had a good time? Here are some awesome finished products:


Gravity Painting #2

For Gravity Painting #2, we used pieces of twisted paper cord from Paper Mart, dipped into paint (washable tempra), and dragged/splattered across black construction paper with no rhyme or reason. Some kids got really into it. Most kids wound up just straight up using their hands, like creative little messy geniuses. It's amazing how free and artistic kids can get. Why can't I just be a kid? No inhibitions. Look at them go:

What worked least: The mess--so much mess. I actually felt a lot of guilt sending the kids home looking how they did, all covered in paint. I assured the parents that everything was washable and all of them seemed understanding, but still, those kids came in the room clean and left dirty, and I felt bad. And that's not to mention the straight up destruction of the room. Some of the wall paint can be seen in the photo above. Look around head-height on both the left and the right of the artist. My coworkers totally loved this, especially the Maintenance Department.

What worked best: I think I gave the kids a place where they could freely make abstract art without rules or restrictions. And I think for many of the kids, it really filled something in them that may not have otherwise gotten filled. Also these paintings are COOL. I even like my own, lame, adult ones!

Yay, gravity!

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