While visiting Cornerspring recently I had a chance to observe the art lesson as well as the children during the creative process. The lesson was Ways to Create Texture with Paint and the art teacher, parent and artist Eva, did a beautiful job of demonstrating the use of different tools: Natural sea sponge, paint brushes, foam brushes, paper towel etc. Some of the children, as is often the case, had creative ideas of their own.
One child used his fingers to create texture and another just kept adding paint, paint, paint and more paint. When I asked her if she felt she had enough paint her quick and quiet response was,
"Is there such a thing as too much paint?"
I enjoyed the moment and took this photo to share with you all.
*Point of interest: My role in the classroom this day was as an observer, therefore I did not want to interfere with the art teacher's lead. I did point out to Eva that allot of paint was being used at that end of the table and she took it from there.
But it made me think about how I would have handled the situation ...
I think my answer might have been, "That is up to the artist to decide."
I would also point out to her that she was welcome to use another piece of paper if she wanted.
Most likely the piece she had been painting on, would tear when she tried to carry it to the drying rack. When this happened, I would comfort her if she was disappointed (of course) but I would also try and facilitate learning from the experience by asking open ended questions such as, "Why do you think the paper tore?" and "I wonder if your paper had less paint on it would it have torn?" It is important when asking these questions to keep your tone non-judgmental.
"You could do an experiment," (I would suggest) "you could use less paint with your next piece of paper and see if your paper ends up tearing."
Our goal as Montessori teachers/parents who lead art exploration with young children, is to:
- Provide the materials and space,
- Give a brief introduction of how to use the materials respectfully and the intention of the activity (as well as how we would clean up something specific, if this is a concern)
- Allow for freedom of creative expression (i.e. coloring outside the lines, using too much paint, making a mess)
- Make observations and share appreciative praise with every child in the group.