Watercolours are a key artistic medium used within any atelier space. They provide the possibility for creative expression, sensory exploration, and scientific experimentation. Many of our tamariki (children) use watercolours to experiment with the limitless marks that can be created.
One child explores the possibilities of forming droplets of colour on the paintbrush. Another child is fascinated with the potential of the blank paper. As a group, they are exploring colour, texture, and movement through the expression of paint.
“A child may be taken with the possibilities for creating images that hold a story, capture an experience, or reflect a relationship. They may experiment with how to create form and shape, or with how much space to leave around a line so the lines don't blur into one another.“ – Ann Pelo
Each time a child experiments with watercolours, they actively participate in opportunities to grow their cognitive skills. This occurs when they evaluate how much water to mix into paint to gain a desired vibrancy and density of colour.
How many layers of colour can I place on the paper until it tears a hole?
Once a child grasps the process of watercolour painting, they start to project representations of themselves onto their canvas of choice. Their projections manifest through creative expression and experimentation. This process applies to a multitude of experiences to support early literacy skills. The child begins to understand how making marks and symbols on paper can be a meaningful way of representing their thoughts, feelings and theories of the world around them.
One child demonstrates her process of self-exploration and expression with a water dropper experiment. Using the water dropper, she carefully forms droplets she calls “rain drops” on her paper. Following a short period of experimentation with this process, her tool of choice ceases to pump out water.
"Oh dear, not working! I need this.."
Scanning the table, she identifies and selects a paintbrush as a suitable alternative for her experimental method and proceeds with her scientific exploration of pigments and shapes on her 2-dimensional canvas. Through the use of watercolours and the variety of tools available, she is able to test her theories and predictions.