Painting daffodils and rocks

This afternoon my son asked to do painting. I said yes and gave a time when it was good to set the paints out. We have to use the kitchen table for artwork and they do not have access to all the art materials. I hope that there will be a time (house dependent) when they can have access to all the materials and create when the urge takes them. Until then, painting is asked for and 99% of the time, granted.

We squeezed out the paint into trays. Both children had the same amount and the same colours. Joseph then began panicking and getting frustrated that he didn’t know what to paint. This happens often with different activities. I placed a jug of daffodils in front of him and he said “I could paint those”.

Off he went describing the colours he’d use, how he would paint it, how many flowers he’d do…Alice got her paintbrush and mixed her colours together making a blue/brown. She began screwing the paper into a ball and then painting it. It went all over the table and her hands. Joseph meanwhile, drew out his picture in pencil and then began filling it in with paint. I was struck at their opposing process but then saw how perfectly it matched their personalities.

I’d been reminded recently of the subjectivity of art. How I didn’t really like Alice’s work but did like Joseph’s. However, they both spent the same amount of time on it, both concentrated just as hard as each other, both were as pleased with the final product. Who was I to dismiss Alice’s because hers was grey and messy?

She had various ideas on what it was she’d created but settled on a rock which summed it up nicely. I talked about it with her and could see she was pleased with it. Joseph was equally happy with his work and asked for it to be framed and to be a surprise for daddy.

It was a simple painting session but it really made who they are stand out. Joseph: initially worrying about what to do, completing something with persistence, neat and careful.

Alice: diving straight in, mixing everything together, not worrying about what she has done, messy and carefree.

I love how different they are.

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