The snow has thankfully, almost vanished, save for the huge piles that were built up by plowing and shoveling. The world is vastly more colorful than it was only a week ago and I am completely here for it. It is amazing to me how quickly a few 50 degree days can wipe out the landscape that has been present and compounding for months. But bye bye snow and hello sunshine. To welcome spring that has hit us full bore, I made a new “spring soul” playlist. It just seemed fitting to really embrace and settle into this spring after the looooong winter, and music always seems to help me do just that. You spotify people can listen too. I’ll share the link below.
With spring on the brain and in the ears, I have also been trying to incorporate some activities for Eliza that have to do with the change in the season. This sweet garland was such a fun and quick weekend, hang out, visit while you work, project. And it was cute enough that I wanted to display it prominently in the house.
For a while now, Eliza has been working on different watercolor techniques. In the past, all of the activities, art related or not, that I have had her do have been very product oriented. It was always about, here are the steps to making this product, I will help you do it, and then we will hang it up. We made some really sweet things that she was proud of, but as time went on I could see that she was getting more and more focused on the product and less and less focused on the process. If the product didn’t turn our just as she had envisioned then the whole process was a waste. In short, she was starting to show signs of my perfectionism, and losing sight of just how fun and wonderful the process can be. In fact, I lose sight of this frequently my self.
So I set out to try to change that. Instead of making something every time, I have been sharing with her some painting technique (mostly watercolor) and then letting her have at it. The best part is, once the paper has dried, we place it in our paper recycling tray and come back to them later for other projects. No more displaying all the things and giving them more importance than necessary. All process, little but useful product.
We have gone through so many interesting watercolor and acrylic paint techniques at this point and most of them can be found on pinterest but I will just highlight a few here.
- Orzo – We dumped some orzo onto a pan that I didn’t really care about and then sprayed the orzo with acrylic paint that had been diluted with water in a spray bottle. Eliza then placed her paper on top of the orzo and pressed down firmly. Such a fun speckled paper it turned into.
- Salt – I had Eliza Paint a generous portion of her paper with a generous amount of watercolor and while the paint was still wet we sprinkled sea salt on it and let it dry. Once it dried we shook off the salt and a very cool texture emerged.
- Lemon – Same process as above only while the paint was wet, we dripped some lemon juice on the paper. It caused the paint to blend and spread in a very cool way.
- Watercolor Wash – I hung a watercolor paper on the easel and had Eliza drag her paint brush across her paper horizontally, overlapping the strokes each time.
- Fabric – We went around the house and gathered different fabrics that had varying textures. We then sprayed those fabrics with diluted acrylic paint and Eliza pressed her paper onto the wet fabric. The burlap turned out very cool and got her talking about the x shapes she was seeing. Always so interesting to see different knowledge coming together in her brain like that.
There are so many more and the options are endless but it is so fun to watch her just get interested in the action, the intention and the artistry instead of just in making something that is “perfect.”
Fast forward to the weekend and we were itching for a little spring in the house. I bought my favorite lilac candle that was helping to fulfill the longing, but we needed more. 🙂 I had just gotten Eliza a couple of paper punches (this one) and she had been having such fun with them so I thought that we could use those and her colorful papers to make a little spring decor. Eliza punched out the leaves and then handed them to me as I strung them with a needle and thread. Simple and fun for the both of us. I think it will for sure be gracing the piano for the next little bit. MEB