Sometimes they paint tangible objects, and sometimes they go abstract. When they are painting, I let them make the choices about what colors to use, and what paintbrushes (or body parts) to apply them with. They have the freedom to create whatever their minds come up with, and they have so much pride in their work, because it is purely their own.
*Other little ways encourage freedom of expression in budding artists...*
- When marvelling at a child's masterpiece, try to avoid asking "what" it is. Sometimes it isn't anything tangible, so instead, ask them to tell you about their painting. That shows that you are interested, and gives an opportunity for them to tell you about their work without the pressure of needing it to be something.
- It's best not to simply throw out vague compliments, like "that's pretty", by themselves. That doesn't show sincere interest in the artwork. Instead, I believe in making specific comments to express what I like about their work, to go along with those general compliments. It shows that you are truly engaged.
- Example... "Wow! I really love how you blended the red and yellow into the green right here *pointing*. Can you tell me about your beautiful painting?"
I am often pleasantly surprised at the responses that come from showing this type of genuine interest. It gives a child room to tell their story without any pressure for the painting to look "right". The picture above, my son explained to me, is the biggest stegosaurus in the jungle, and he's very hungry. Some of my little guy's other (very similar) paintings were simply described as "greeny-bluey", and I think he has a right to be just as proud of his greeny-bluey paintings as he is of his hungry dinosaur. Sometimes the abstract paintings are the most fun to create, so they should feel free to go for it!
With toddlers and preschoolers, it's generally best to use washable, inexpensive supplies so you won't have to worry about stains, squished paintbrush bristles, or mixed up paints. I love how the paints look after a fun day of mixing and swirling... so pretty. If I'm ever in a creative rut, painting with my kids is such a fun, pressure-free way to get those creative juices flowing again. The color combinations inspire me...
A big tub of water for cleaning paintbrushes, hands, feet, and anything else that ended up with paint on it, makes cleanup quick, easy, and fun. I think my little ones had almost as much fun with the green water as they did with the paints. And when we were all cleaned up...
We sat back to admire the lovely creations. We love to eat dinner in our outdoor gallery, surrounded by fresh air, flora, pretty lights, and colorful art. It's an art party that's fun for the whole family!
We Love Art!!!