At the end of the school year I wanted to do something that was worthwhile and also fun. I decided that I wanted to give my students the chance to just play with putting watercolor on paper.
I gave each student a pretty large sheet of watercolor paper. It was about an 18″ by 25″. The students had painted with watercolors numerous times during the year but always had a particular subject, method or color scheme that was required. This time the purpose was to enjoy and get lost in the motion of painting. The only catch, I did not want the painting to be realistic. It had to be abstract.
The students were very excited to get to paint in this manner. I think it was a relief to not have to draw or plan before picking up the paintbrush. The students really seemed to have a great time splashing color onto the paper. They used salt, drybrush, plastic wrap,and crayons to create texture and interest.
When the students got one side painted, I asked them to turn the paper over and paint the other side. It was very freeing for these students. I felt that the second side often was better than the first. They had loosened up a bit.
I suggested that they turn the page upside down and side ways to get another look at what they were painting. I noticed almost all were leaving a sort of white halo around the edge of the page as well. So I asked them to put some color into the edges. I also asked them to pick the paper up and let the paint drip from one side to the other using gravity.
When the paintings were finished they put them in the drying rack. They had no idea what I was going to ask them to do with the paintings the next day. They just knew they had enjoyed playing with paint.
The next day, I gave each student a fine tipped black Sharpie marker. I told them to choose their favorite abstract painting to work on. They were asked to find the designs within that favorite painting. At first they were not really sure what I wanted, but they soon got the idea. They spent at least two days drawing with marker on their paintings. Some filled areas on the page with doodles, some outlined shapes they saw as color changes occurred.
Most of the paintings turned out beautifully. We displayed the work on the bulletin board in class and the students had a wonderful time looking at all the original art. They were genuinely surprised that the paintings turned out so lovely.
I was proud of their work and so were they. I am including some photos of their work in this article for you to enjoy.
Why is the title of this article “Another Abstract Painting”? Because I previously wrote an article titled “An Abstract Painting“. You might enjoy reading it too.