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.