Yes, I’m sure I am the only person at the holiday season who has been busy, so what are you going to do. Just kidding. I know this is the season to be crazy, and I am still trying to recover from the rash of sickness that engulfed my house. Just two nights ago, my son fell to the 24 hour flu (which of course started at 8pm), and now my husband’s tummy feels rumbly. Secretly, I’m hoping he is in need of a pot of honey. (Thank you to the one person who enjoyed my Winnie the Pooh reference).
Anyway, in all the craziness, I am so behind in sharing the work I have had the privilege to do at the school. In the last few weeks of school before break, I was able to go into two Kindergarten classes and a Transitional Kindergarten class.
With these grade levels I really like to doing a book character that the kiddos will positively respond too. After all, everyday, these kids have the honor (even if they do not know it) of having a little story time and someone reading to them.
First off, in my own child’s kinder class, I got to paint my favorite book character, the pigeon you get to say no to. Now, remember, I only have about thirty minutes to paint a whole mix media canvas for the little people, and trust me when I say, doing both a pigeon and a bus certainly pushed my ability to speed work. I do get a serious kick out of the small people who are absolutely confused by the fact that I do not use a paint brush when working before them. Don’t get me wrong, I use a palate knife, and wet wipes to smear paint, and even makeup-sponges to push acrylic through stencils, but mostly I just use my fingers. I want the kids to see that you don’t have to be precise and perfect to make something special. You just need to dive into the paint.
However, durning this demo, one of the sweet little girls could not grasp that I was getting paint on my hands. She was horrified by it. She even asked, “Didn’t your mom teach you to color in the lines.” I answered her honestly, that yes, my mother taught me to color in the lines, but as an adult, I have chosen to break all the rules when it comes to art. I don’t think my answer helped her in her dirty hand disgust, but it made my day, her asking that. I love the finished project, and you can see there wasn’t much touch up done at home to finish him off. Just some cleaning up of the grass, darkening the scowl, and of course adding the all important names of the kiddos.
Up next was another Pete the Cat painting. As my one faithful reader knows, I had already done a Pete the cat for another classroom, a painting we now refer to as Yellow Pete, so I felt pretty confident going into the kindergarten class with Red Pete.
What I didn’t know was that half of my stencils were going to jump ship on my way into the classroom. (good news was that I found them all walking out to my car afterwards). So what had been a nice simple plan, became flying by the seat of my pants. And like any potential train wreak, the kids could not tear their eyes away.
Good news was I managed to complete the project and was fairly happy with it, but it was not what I had planned. I do think it was good for the kids to see me adjust the plan on the fly, and was very honest with them that things were not going as I had hoped.
However, when I got Red Pete home, there was very little additional work needed to finish him. I, yes, had to clean up his eyes and nose and the all important names, but Red Pete was basically finished after the demo.
The final demo was done just the Wednesday before break came, and I was so crazy busy with life, that I failed to realize how complicated the character request was when the teacher asked if I could do him. Gilbert and his seasonal adventures, wasn’t a book series I was familiar with, but it was the book the Transitional Kindergarten class were reading that week. I had seen his awesome hair, and thought what a great way to use watercolor in the demo. What I did not see was how much color blending was going to be needed to make his face look right.
In fact it took 4 different shades of brown and cream to blend his face right. Normally, that is no big deal, and frankly a normal part of painting. But now throw in the fact I purposely don’t use paint brushes, and secondly, I only had you know the 30 minutes. But I managed, and he sort of turned out cute. His hair was ridiculous, but I was able to fix that somewhat at home. In the end, doing this piece actually did a lot for me, both in confidence and skill. And these four and five year olds, loved seeing their names etched onto the canvas.