Art Museum Influenced Kid Watercolor Paintings

Last weekend we visited the Austin Museum of Art on “Family Day.” On Family Day they have reduced rates for families to enter the museum, as well as art activities and puppet shows put on by Austin Literature Live. Of course we were early and had some time to kill, so we kicked around the museum for about an hour. Have you ever talked about fine art with four and six year olds? Or tried to keep four and six year olds from touching fine art? JEEZ. My kids are so touchy feely we don’t make it to the museum much. This time we were lucky. The exhibit was about design and featured a lot of art deco furniture. We were able to really talk about the funny shaped furniture, and there were several early telephones. One phone was built directly into a desk. I pulled out my cell phone and we had a lively conversation about phones then and now! They only touched one painting and during our rounds we found these:

These are ink line and watercolor paintings. The kids thought they were “really cool,” that’s a direct quote.  We also noted that these were something the kids might be able to do. So we took a picture to remind us, and after we finished making our watercolor paints from scratch we got to work.

First the kids got their crayons and “scribbled” a line design onto their paper. Then we got the paints. In the art we observed at the museum the artist outlined the “scribble” lines and used pale colors to fill in certain sections. My kids were so excited to be using the paint they had made they couldn’t be restricted by rules or guidelines, they just went where the art took them. 🙂

Our paint had gorgeous color! And while it was thicker than traditional watercolors, it certainly layered very well. Interestingly, when you use crayons and watercolors, the crayon acts as a resist. The watercolor paint pulls away from the crayon and won’t paint OVER the crayon. I knew the kids wouldn’t want to exactly do what we saw at the museum, which is why I chose crayons for them to use in their line and water color art. I didn’t want the line part of their art to be lost. Our homemade watercolors, however, painted right over the crayon. Hmmm… Veddy, veddy intaresting…

We like to have some fresh flowers around while we paint. Hazel chose these sunflowers, talk about vivid color! The fact that the flowers had been dyed didn’t escape notice, and the kids are eager to try coloring their own flowers. Can you guess what we’ll be posting about next?

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