Thursday, January 14


For a few weeks now we have been watercolor painting on Mondays. Most of the time my oldest daughter paints while her younger sister is napping. Occasionally if her sister doesn't nap they will both paint but I have found it is preferable to paint one-on-one due to their age differences. Please be aware, the way in which we paint is only based on my research and reading with a little adaptation. So, I am no way an expert on this!

What I like about the Waldorf method of painting is that there is some direction given to the child in a playful and inviting way. Comments, poems, or verses are used to prepare, create anticipation, and invite imagination before beginning. I also like the way it creates a feeling of purpose for the work. I usually find a poem to use. Other methods include a coloring verse or just inviting creativity by saying "Red, Blue and Yellow are going to play together!"

We begin by preparing. I mix the colors and wet a sponge with water. Together we wipe the paper from side to side with the sponge. Then, we turn the paper over and repeat. While preparing I make some remarks about the poem we will use. "I will tell you a poem about the moon. Remember we saw the moon out the other evening..."

Once we are ready, I describe the poem piece by piece as the painting takes place but I do not read the poem until the painting is done. For this work I would say: This poem is about the moon. What would the sky look like behind the moon? I would wait while my daughter works on the sky. Once the sky is done I might say: In this poem the moon is big and round. And then: The moon beams shine down onto things below. And finally: There is a little star next to the moon.

Once my daughter is done painting I read the poem to her. I have found that she loves this part the best. She asks me to read it several times and I can always sense a feeling of pride. Even since using this method I have noticed that she talks about her pictures in a more creative way, as if they were telling a story as opposed to "this is a ___, that is a ______."

Here is our latest poem and painting done this week.

The Moon by Eliza Follen

Oh, look at the moon she’s shining up there,

Oh, mother, she looks like a lamp in the air!

Last week she was smaller and shaped like a bow,

But now she’s grown bigger and round as an ‘O.’

Pretty moon, pretty moon, blow your shine on the door

And make all bright on my nursery floor,

You shine on my playthings and show me their place.

And I love to look up at your pretty, bright face,

And there is a star close by you and maybe

That small twinkling star is your baby!

I have found the book Painting with Children by Brunhild Muller helpful, but wish it provided a bit more solid information. Most Waldorf toy suppliers carry the painting materials. They are not inexpensive when starting out, however, they will last a long time (we are still using the same paints and package of paper from a year ago) and the quality is excellent.


The girl who painted trees said...

I love this beautiful idea to discuss the contents of a poem and then read the poem after the painting is done. Interestingly, I was looking at your post with my 2.5 yr old next to me, and when she saw the painting she said, "Look Mommy, a little girl sleeping." I asked her why she thought that and she said, "It a night sky, Mommy." I hadn't shared the poem with her yet.

hikingmama said...

Sounds like a beautiful experience for you and your daughter. My 2 1/2 old son and I have been doing wet-on-wet water coloring once a week. I have been reading the watercolor painting poems and stories from the Season's of Joy curriculum before we paint. So far we have just used one color at a time. I soak the paper then he uses his sponge to dry it off. When he is older I think he would enjoy the idea of using the poem to guide the painting process. Do you paint with your daughter(s)?

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Thank you for describing the process you use, I have not tried watercolour with my almost two year old yet and am interested to see how she responds to a new art medium. It sounds like a beautiful, shared art experience to me.

Amy said...

I have not painted with them but have read that it is encouraged. My concern would be my daughter comparing or trying to imitate mine and then not using her creativity.

meggieD said...

Great post. Thank you.

But a curriculum for a 2 1/2 year old? Seems anti Waldorf!

Amy said...

When I wrote this post my daughter was 5 1/2, the 3 1/2 year old was napping at this time. We don't use this method very often because I know that the best method is to allow the child to direct their work. However, if she says "I don't want to paint" then I would offer a poem to see if it would spark some interest.