Magical mystery paintings with watercolors

10 03 2010

Well, *I* think it looks like Elmo.

We did this activity a while back, and I don’t remember now where the inspiration came from.  It was a really simple and fun craft that met my most important criterion: easy to clean up.  I made the rookie mistake of letting big brother color with markers, so-called “washable” markers, I might add, and the marks are still on the kitchen table–nothing gets them out.  Same with food coloring… those food coloring based paints we did were a lot of fun to play with, but you have to wipe them up ASAP to prevent stains.  Well, not so with watercolors.  These are a little trickier than regular paint to use, but so worth it in the end.

What I did beforehand was draw a picture on a sheet of paper using a white crayon.  (Funny story–BB always tells me when he colors with his white crayon that it’s not working… maybe it needs batteries.  Haha!  The minds of children.  In his world, I think everything runs on batteries, so needing new batteries is the answer to everything.)  My drawing skills leave a lot to be desired, but I did my best.  The drawing is essentially invisible until he colors over it with the watercolors, then the drawing shows up as white lines.  I tried to draw Elmo, but he didn’t recognize it.  I did a Curious George drawing that I thought was darn good, and he thought it was “ummm, a bulldozer?”  To be fair, that was a full-page sized drawing, and he didn’t color the whole page, so it was hard to tell.  I think little drawings worked best.

Flowers... it doesn't get simpler than that.

Flowers... it doesn't get simpler than that.

I had to repeat a few times, “Water, then paint, then paper,” and sometimes he just painted the paper with water, but once he got the hang of it, he really went to town.  I think soon we’ll be able to wallpaper our house in his paintings, and I have to admit I feel a little bad about the sheer quantity of paper we go though, but I can’t think of another way to make paintings, so tree-killing it is.  It’s ironic because at the moment, his favorite story is “The Lorax”, and here we are, “more paper (15 seconds elapse)…more paper (15 more seconds)… more paper…”, you get the idea.  So, if you don’t mind burning though a lot of paper, this is a fun activity; we both enjoyed it.  I liked drawing pictures as much as he liked revealing them.  The pictures here aren’t the best, but if you look closely, you can see the white drawings that appear magically when the paper is painted.  The flowers he was able to recognize right away… maybe I have some artistic talent after all, haha!