Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Artist and Child: Ink and Watercolours

Twyla has been asking me daily to teach her a new technique or introduce her to art materials she has never seen before. She loves the idea of using real artists paints and paper, and thrives in an environment where both she, the materials and the work are given time and undivided attention. There is a clear difference between her independent creative explorations, our collaborations, and the time we spend exploring new processes of art making together. There are a few things that make this shared time so special:

1. Good quality artists materials. In this case black indian ink, an ink nib and holder, watercolours and watercolour paper. Buying student quality materials in art supply stores is a cheaper option.

2. A special work space and conversation about how to care for the materials before beginning. You could talk about mixing colours in a separate palette so the actual tray doesn't get muddy and how to wash the brush well in between colours. Twyla loves the process of caring for special materials and knows that at other times she can body paint with pools of colour on large pieces of paper.

3. Allowing an expanse of time for exploration and discovery. We share the excitement when Twyla  comes across ways of using materials that I have not discovered before.

A special space created for exploring new techniques with quiet and attention. 
Learning to hold the nib and move it across the page and discovering that it works best in one direction. Delighting in accidental drips and drops that can be turned into unexpected aspects of her work. 
The whole time she works she tells the stories of the characters being born onto her page. Her lines are alive and the story literally comes to life through her marks and colours.
I am painting over their heads so it looks like they are under their blankets. 


  1. beautiful and inspiring - so great to see kids working with "real" materials (and no art smock!)

  2. So great :) Me and my daughter Rose (3 1/2) do lots of permanent pen and water colour stuff. No experimenting with nibs and ink yet though. That will be fun!

  3. *such* an extraordinary drawing! kids drawings are the best!!


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