Yesterday it was very rainy, cooping Simon and I up inside the house for the day, so I devised an art project for us to do together. My idea was to gather up all of the pale colored crayons-yellow, gray, white, silver, etc.-and have us first color on watercolor paper, and then paint over our marks with the transparent watercolors, thus using the wax resist technique.
I thought it would be fun for Simon to use more than one kind of art supply to make a picture, since usually I just grab either the crayons, or the paint. I also hoped he might find the way the crayon-especially white-shows up brightly through the paint a little bit magical.
So I got out the crayons, and started doodling on my own paper, while Simon didn’t appear very interested in them. He made a couple of marks on his paper, and then spent the next several minutes trading crayons with me, but never using them himself. So I asked him if he wanted to paint, and he excitedly said “Yeah!”. I got us all set up for some painting, and began adding color to my own paper to show him how the crayon marks appeared through. He made a few strokes on his paper, and then again started getting antsy, and just trading paintbrushes back and forth, over and over again. I was just thinking he must not have the attention span for art at that time and was going to suggest we do something else, when my toddler had a stroke of genius.
He began dipping crayons in paint and then using them to stamp onto his paper, or draw with, creating two-colored marks. This made him very happy, and I joined right in of course, dipping crayons and then using them in fun ways on the paper. Exploration of materials is much more important than finished product anyway for children’s art making.