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Hi, Just interested to know what kind of painting others do. We have always just had ready mixed paints available evry day for adult led or ,more often, independent paintings at the easel. The children help themselves to paper, put it on the rack to dry themselves afterwards etc. Until recently, we had only ever done colour mixing as an adult led activity but then I went to visit a FS unit in Rotherham and was inspired to set up independent colour mixing (the children there were producing some absolutely fantastic paintings the colours for which they had mixed all on their own) the staff there had obviously spent a lot of time and energy 'training' the children to know the system (dip paint brush in water poit, then on sponge then in powder paint then mix in pallete). We set it off ourselves and the children loved it but it never became FULLY independent because we have such young nursery children and it was a lot harder to 'train' them (big enough job just using ready mixed with them and teaching them to put on an apron/wash hands etc!)

Anyhow, I'd love to know what you have all found works/doesn't. The system I've just described works well if you put the effort in but is much easier with the older ones and its hard/unfair to exclude the younger children but they really do make such a mess! (hope someone doesn't tell me off and say this is all part of the fun!)

Also, I've been tring to paint self-portraits today and have found the whole process incredibly difficult-do you paint skin colour all over and then eyes on top? What about the irisis? do you get them to draw the features and then paint around them? Help!! I found it such a struggle-especially when there are so many different skin tones so whilst I'm helping one mix the correct colour for that, the other has decided that they will have red eyes and blue hair!! Is this ok do you think? After all, they say its the process and not the end result and maybe next time the red eyed child will look more closely in the mirror (we did this first) and remember that his eyes are in fact blue (but not the same shade of blue as we have ready mixed....but thats another story!!) :o

Thanks for any replies

ZimX

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We use a variety of paint media, palette, powder, ready mixed and paint pencils (dip them in water)

 

You can buy ready mixed in a set of skin tone colours.

 

I have a story ( can't remember the title) about colour characters who paint a large wall.

The red character paints a long line at the top, then the yellow character paints a line below, then ooops the red paint drips into the yellow and makes orange, etc. We re-enact this story using paint and a very large ( slippery surface) whiteboard. The children love it especially when they then choose to mix all the colours up using fingers and hands.

 

Paint one hand red, the other yellow....clap hands... and hey presto, print orange etc.

 

Self portraits, we have done this but using mirrors and coloured pencils instead of paint.

I do beleive the process, the exploration of media is more important than end product at this age, however this depends obviously on each childs level.

We recently did Owl Babies as our theme story and a 4 yr old self selected his own choice of paint (brown), painted a very realistic image of an owl then when the paint was still wet, self selected some feathers and stuck these onto his creation. It couldn't of gone any better if we had planned it ourselves, because it was his idea.

 

Have fun :D

 

peggy

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We allow the children sometimes to help mix the paints at the beginning of the week. However, we also have mixing paint palettes on our easels every day and they all use the colours independently for mixing the colours - although if you have too many colours this then always turns into a sludgy brown at some stage. Sometimes I try and keep to tones of the same colour that work well together e.g. light blue through to royal and pale yellow through to bright yellow, so that when they are mixing them they can notice the change - having white is also useful. I too have found self portraits difficult especially with the young ones, it tends to be very adult led. Having mirrors on the table does help the children along with pictures of other children for discussion. It's good for PSE development - what about trying collage pictures of their families - this is a big favourite of mine - lots of discussion about differences and similarities and hugely entertaining end results! You could also try the skin tone wax crayons for the younger ones.

nikki

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I guess it depends on your learning objective. If you want the children to look at their features carefully and match paint colours to their skin/hair/eyes etc, then colour does matter :D

If you are after free expression and creativity, then it doesn't!

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Thanks Peggy,

When I saw your name as reading this I thought 'oh come on peggy give me some of your inspiration' and you did! Thanks!! Think I might just do coloured pencil self portraits next time (easier and mirror can be right there in fromnt of them on table) but focus more on larger scale movements with paint. Did you do powder paint miuxing independently? :) THanks again

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Thanks Nicola-so you have paints you have pre mixed (sometimes with children-we do same) and then the pallete? I know it sounds daft(or thick :o ) but how exactly do they mix the colors? I imagine each colour has a brush but they then have a separate brush for mixing which they can rinse out as and when? (do they wash their own pallete afterwards? sorry to be a pain! xD

Thats true ASPK-objective was from the kuw similarities and differences ELG.

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Hi there,

totally agree with the comment about objectives,

We have just finished doing self portraits as part of K.U.W.

We talked about their skin and mixed the colours to do this. We allowed them to mix for the sake of it and allowed them to use paper if they wished. One little boy mixed colours in the palette and put it on the drying rack! We showed mum at the end of the morning. Then we asked children to think about their skin and the shape of their bodies. They painted a pink whole body which we allowed to dry. Then we asked them to look carefully at their faces and supported them to paint what they noticed. Last we looked in a full length mirror at what part of our bodies had clothes on. This is a process we find the children can understand. It is very adult supported and I would not dream to say its'all the children's own work' It is a very valuable teaching medium for language and concept building. The day after doing this with a 3 year old and completely self initiated, the child concerned drew a recogniseable face with iris, pupils and nostrils on his nose- mind you no body!

This has been adult intensive but I think very valuable

 

I do wonder about teaching mixing with powder paint . Is this how real artists mix their colours? My children would move up to mixing with block paints. So I'm not sure it would be worth it. What do others think?

Regards Lynda

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I agree with having objectives too and the importance of knowing the child. I think children have to go through ( and return regularly to) the experiencial/experimental stage of discovery with any artistic/creative medium to have the full benefit of more focused objectives.

 

We had a child start this term, aged four, who has had little experience of painting, let alone the variety of paint media's.

 

We vary experiences from; all paint tins ( varieties of coloured powder) on the table, small tubs of water, a spoon in each, trays, and paper for independent exploration, making the paint then mixing up the colours, to limited primary colours only with adult support to mix, observe results, discuss methods and results.... to independent mixing. Our art area is laid out for full access to self selection of all media. Focused activities are carried out in a seperate area with limited resources to enable "specific" discovery such as mixing prime colours.

 

 

Peggy

 

p.s. Zim, thanks for the vote of confidence :D

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Hi Lynda, Thanks for your reply. That's true about what do real artists use and what they will move onto through out the school. The school where I saw the fantastic artwork followed the powder paint mixing right through and was passionate about art. Our school however, :( doesn't seem to lay much emphasis on art (unless of course individual teachers insist on it) and we once had 'big art week' where teachers were allowed to cover all their art objectives for the half term in one week! (in other words do literacy and numeracy for the rest of the time :o ). I just want them to get the best experience they can whilst they are in the FS as its out of my hands after that. But I know that some junior teachers are using the paint blocks (infants/ks1 ready mixed in pots I think) so it seems daft that we are 'training' them in a method they will never use past FS. However, think I'll continue as its about what they are learning nowthat matters most. :)

Peggy so do you have your paint tins out at all times for independent use? How messy is it?!! xD

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