“Before launching into the full spectrum of color, stand at its edge with white and black, the beginning and the end. Black and white provide a frame though which we more clearly see and understand color. Side by side on paper, the contrast between black and white calls each more fully to life.”
How do you feel about black paint? I remember last year at the Reggio-inspired playgroup we used to attend, a parent queried offering black paint to children. She said black was a ‘selfish colour’ and that it dominated all others.
I hadn’t thought too much about it before, but she was right. When black was offered along side other colours, for Jack (4 yrs) and Sarah (2 yrs), and with the children on this particular occasion at playgroup, it was used more often and in greater amounts than the other colours.
I like black paint though. I like the dramatic contrast to the white paper. I like the feeling of painting with black paint; seems almost powerful as the deep lines move across the page. I think this might be what draws children to black paint; the sensory explosion they get when it splats and spreads, covering the white paper entirely.
Whenever we are painting, I always think about what colours to offer Jack and Sarah; how will the colours look next to each other? What new colours and shades will they make when they are mixed together? Will this be a pleasing colour or a brown murky mess?
I might put out blue, red and white or red, white and yellow, depending on the exploration; colours that will blend nicely. Since Jack and Sarah still enjoy mixing paints, it’s nice for them to have a colours that will mix beautifully.
Black with white paper and a range of differently sized brushes.
“Encourage children to try a range of brush sizes. Large brushes work well for spreading paint, and small brushes work well for making intentional or representational lines.” ~ Ann Pelo
Jack and Sarah will paint, Sarah spreading paint and Jack making more representational lines. Jack enjoys learning how differently sized brushes work and so will experiment with small lines and thick lines, he’ll use just the tip of the brush sometimes and other times he will use a heavy hand and the whole brush.
Sarah too is learning to use a smaller brush. I needed to demonstrate to her how to gently hold the brush so as not to bend the bristles while painting as well as how to remove excess paint from her brush by wiping it on the side of the pot. But mostly she likes to get her whole hands in there and really explore.
I think there is a lot of exploring and experimentation that can happen with black paint and white paper. Next time you get the paints out, consider just offering black paint. Give each child their own clear jar of paint, a thick brush and a fine brush.
What kinds of lines did they make? How did they interact with the paint? How did they use the two differently sized brushes? Did they like the black paint?
Pop back and let me know how it went.