Projects like this are some of my favorites. I love projects with very few rules and many possibilities. A teacher I once taught with referred to projects like this as White Paper Projects. She always lead White Paper Projects. This teacher was also a psychologist.
I have learned these White Paper Projects are substantial for growth and development. Projects like this with very few restrictions force children to think in ways they are not generally used to – ways contrary to what they are taught everyday in school. Children are taught and quizzed on the “right and wrong” or the “yes or no.” It isn’t always an opportunity for a young person to survey all of their options and map their own choices. Also important and not always an opportunity is the concept that there is no “wrong” approach. For some, like my oldest, this will be a very difficult task.
You can really learn a lot from sitting back and observing how a child, or anyone, approaches art. Some kids will dive right in, others will analyze and organize before touching their paper and some will become very frustrated looking for the “right” answer. Regardless of what type of child you have, these White Paper Projects are an excellent developmental exercise.
This is what our project looked like at the two hour mark when Clara said, “This is so much fun!”
Last week we visited the County Fair. While walking through the art exhibits the girls really took notice of the mixed media pieces. So that is what we used as our inspiration.
I have mixed emotions on examples of projects. I can understand the benefit of an example, but I also feel it is limiting for some, especially those children looking for the right answer. Often they will attempt to re-create instead of create their own piece of art.
So instead of examples I look for what I refer to as inspirations. And when showing these to children be sure to have several options to inspire, making certain that each piece is unique from the others. This will reduce the chance of a re-creation. These are some examples of similar pieces to what we saw at the Fair.
The beauty of this project is you can use supplies you already have. These are the types of things we chose to use for our projects:
- Bleeding Tissue Paper
- Mod Podge or watered White Glue mixture
- Paint Brushes
- Liquid Watercolors
- Watercolor Pencils
- Water soluble Oil Pastes
- Tacky glue
- Old Magazines
- Scrap cardstock pieces
Other items you could use:
- Canvas or wood instead of paper
- paint pens
- acrylic or other types of paint
- recycled items
- any other item you find around the house
I decided the best approach to this project was to gather all of the supplies, have them accessible and discuss different ways each could be used.
We started first with the wet portions of the project. First was the newspaper. Using the liquid watercolors we painted full sheets of newspaper different colors and then set it aside to dry.
Next we worked on the base for our projects. The girls chose to use some tissue paper and watercolors to fill their white paper with color.
While that was drying they moved on to selecting, cutting and piecing together all of their parts they would later add to the paper.
The depth of this project is created in all of the many layers. After gluing all of the many pieces the girls then chose to embellish some more with the oil pastels and watercolor pencils.
They were very proud of their final projects!