Day 7: Nature Painting
I have seen some very cute things on Pinterest lately where a natural material was adhered or tied onto a stick for a "natural" paintbrush. I tried making one the other week. My son immediately wanted one; however, he turned his into a tree as he stuck it in the ground. He then threw water on the area and called it the beach--obviously he sees beyond my little paintbrush! :-) And I will say that while these natural "paintbrushes" are REALLY cute, that I don't really think they are necessary. Most natural items have their own "handle" in the form of a stem or something similar.
We had this as an option at a recent Children, Nature, and Art activity, sponsored by Early Childhood Professionals of Northern Indiana. We had a table set up with options, as well as many "loose parts" on the work tables, such as milkweed, cattails, acorns, leaves, "weeds", and many more options! There were materials for muslin, recycled packing paper, newspaper, butcher paper, etc.
As you can see, there was a wide variety of responses to this open-ended invitation. People used several different textures and items for painting. Mixed media
As I watched this creative process in action, I talked to people about their process. I watched them experiment with different materials, colors, and textures.
I noticed a high level of what I call experimentation quotient. They were willing to try something different and see how it turned out. They used what they learned for more interaction with the material.
I've done this with preschool children as well. It's interesting to see how we start with one natural item and then start looking for other ideas and options. We've used feathers, corn silks, acorns, cinnamon sticks, and more!
I also liked the collaborative nature of this. While many were working on their own, they were still watching, interacting, and consulting with others that might be doing something similar. There were also larger groups working together to make one piece of art as a group for their center. They were problem solving, collaborating, experimenting, looking at cause/effect, etc. We didn't have a formal lesson plan, yet many academic skills were addressed just in the normal interaction with our natural art materials.
I loved seeing very outside of the box thinking! Thanks for joining in the creation process!