This week was an important introduction to design and the paint medium of watercolors. Last week, the provocation of a bicycle wheel prompted the children to want to hang large beaded strands from the wheel. We responded to this by setting up a table with intricate glass beads and fishing line, eager to see what the children would produce. The first day, beads were not organized in any particular way. Various shapes, colors, and sizes shared the same container. The outcome: strands of beads with various shapes, sizes and colors. We began to wonder what would happen if we organized the beads simply by color. Would the outcome be the same? Would the children be more intentional in their choices? The table was set with clear containers of beads grouped by color palette: a jar of red beads, a jar of golden beads, a jar of blue beads, etc. Children were eager to exercise their fine motor skills and focus as they sat down to thread those tiny beads onto the that tiny fishing line. The outcome: strands of yellow and golden beads; strands of blues, turquoise, and clear beads. It appeared that organization of materials, specifically color, impacted the design process for our children. We became more intrigued. As we continue to introduce new art materials, how can our organization and manner in which we set up a provocation, help the children to design and create with intent?
An Invitation to Explore Watercolor
Later in the week we explored watercolors for the first time. We worked to keep the same brush in the correct jar of paint so as not to mix paint within the jars, but to mix colors on the paper. On Friday, fresh flowers of pink and green were placed in the center of the table, with jars of pink and green watercolors. Again, we were eager to see how the set up of the provocation could influence the children’s plan. Many of the children quickly voiced that they were painting flowers. Some expressed that they did not know how to paint flowers. Others shared that their paintings began as flowers, but turned into something else. Two students discussed the colors that were made when the green and pink mixed together. Was it green? Or was it grey?
As children are exploring these new materials, they are beginning to think about what they are going to DO with the materials. This is the beginning of planning. We will continue to use the interest of color and organization to foster this intentional process.