Thursday, 28 February 2013

What colour is sad?

 We started our session at the huge mirror in the yellow room - with paper taped to the mirror at child height ready to capture our expressions. The children looked at themselves and I asked them "what do you see?"

"Love"

In a way it almost felt to good to be true - it felt like, if I was to tell someone else this, they would never believe me - luckily one of my colleagues walked past just at that moment - our eyes met, we smiled, recognising the moment.

After looking at ourselves, and checking out how we looked when we were angry and sad and happy - we got to drawing with a permanent black pen. As they drew I asked them
"How many eyes... how many noses... how many mouths" to support the children in the process of drawing a face, rather than simply allowing the pen to explore the paper. Two of the children had two noses - as they could see two nostrils in the mirror.

I asked what expression they had drawn - they had all drawn sad.

I asked what colour sad was - they decided it was red and brown but were unable to explain why. The explanation for angry being blue was "when you get angry you lose your brain, and that is why it is blue".

At this point I could see the children had talked enough and were eager to get going with the next stage. Painting. There was a little disappointment when they discovered that I supplied them with just red and brown paint - as they wanted a whole rainbow of colours - I carefully re-read their words that their drawings were "sad" and that they had described sad as red and brown. They accepted this and got busy dipping their brushes into the paint and transforming their drawings into "sad" works of art.


 When they were satisfied with their first emotion they asked if they could paint happy - which I was happy to supply the materials for. You can see in the below photo - two dot eyes, two dot nostrils and a happy mouth - and lots and lots of hair.

More colours were chosen for happy - pink, red, yellow, orange and green - not all had the same combinations though this time, and none of the had the time to share their thoughts about why these colours were happy...

 The liquid water colour would easily spill if you were not careful. This child (above) solved the problem of spillage, not by wiping up the mess, but by simply moving along the table...

 Once they were finished with happy I gave the children a chance to experiment with all the colours used during the day. Using liquid water colour and ready mixed tempera - to allow the opportunity to not only mix colours, but also mix textures.  It was also interesting to see how the children reacted to the opportunity just to mix and blend the colours - not to actually paint something. One child asked about ten times about "what am I going to paint?"
"Just experiment - mix, test, see what happens..."

the colours became more and more mixed until eventually they all became the same colour...

 After a while two of the children started to paint their hands - it started with finger nails and then progressed further and further up their arms. The water colours were dripping down (up?) their arms - and after a while they put their brushes down and explored the paint with their hands, and even their elbows...



One child absolutely did not want to get messy hands - and no matter how much the others explained how much fun it was and that it was worth trying, this child would just say "no. no. no" like it was the worst idea anyone could suggest. Instead this child's colours were being mixed with a cooking theme, ingredients being added from one hole to another to create new and "tasty" colours.

Drawing a face has taken a step forward - there was more focus on actual facial details this week. So I am wondering how often I should be doing a portrait session with these children - how often could I do this without spoiling their new interest in drawing faces? I guess it will just be a case of being observant - and allowing the children to guide me.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting that they chose red and brown for sad instead of blue and blue for angry instead of red. Wonderful that they can explain their choices though.

    The thought of some children drawing two noses because they saw their two nostrils is adorable!

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