When I read Amy’s post a couple of months ago on the Waldorf method of wet-on-wet painting with watercolors, I knew immediately that she would be a wonderful guest blogger for the Discovering Waldorf series. She described an enchanting painting experience, both for herself and her child. I loved to read how she brought magic and intrigue into the process and made painting almost spiritual. I am so happy that she agreed to share this method with all of us today.
Because young children are so connected with their environment, they draw energy and feelings from the colors around them. A young child’s interactions with the colors through the watercolor painting process can allow them to feel the effects of color within themselves and each color’s quality (bringing warmth or coolness). Unlike other creative means, watercolors don’t limit the child to exactness in form, shape or outline so many children feel more free to create and experiment.
I have found the use of playful comments, poem or verse to be a wonderful way to invite creativity to a painting session. For a recent watercolor session with my daughter I began by selecting the poem February Twilight by Sara Teasdale.
The tone is set beginning with the preparation of the paint, water and paper (soaking or wiping with a wet sponge). While we prepare to paint I provide an image from the poem I will read at the end of our painting time. “This poem is about that time of day just before it gets dark.” A comment like this adds to the anticipation of our painting time while also providing a picture image for my daughter to work with (if she so chooses). When we sit at the table ready to paint I add a bit more imagery. “We’ve seen the sky just after the sun goes to bed, and the beautiful colors. Think of that time right after the sun is gone and it is almost dark.” This is her invitation to paint.
My daughter paints the sky. First with blue then with the other colors. (To encourage her to wash her brush after each color I have told her to wash “Peter Paintbrush’s” hair after painting and dry his hair on the towel. Then he is ready to wear a new color.) After she seems done with the sky I add another image from the poem. “There is a hill. A hill with newly fallen snow.” She then paints for a few minutes more. I then add “A single star shines in the sky.” I try not to talk too much, just adding the images of the poem as we progress along. When she seems finished I ask if she is ready to hear the poem. Reading the poem at the end brings our painting session to a close. We listen to the words, we look at the colors. We take time to enjoy the moment.
by Sara Teasdale
I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.
There was no other creature
That saw what I could see —
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me.