The theme of this week at Open-Ended Art was “Yellow and Paint”. Well, on Tuesday evening I got out yellow paint and brush, handed them to Anna and told her to paint whatever she wants. For some reason she always looks really annoyed when I suggest open-ended activity, and missing her nap didn’t help matters. She reluctantly took the brush and made these splashes of paint. After 3 minutes she said that she is done, and that she wants a “real project” now. Oh, she said that those splashes of color are “yellow stripes”. To be honest, “the masterpiece” went to the trash can shortly after this picture was taken.
Well, I decided to try again on Wednesday. Anna missed her nap again, and her ability to focus plummets when she is tired. I was tired myself – I had late night meetings every night this week, and I was functioning on 5 hours of sleep. Nevertheless, I had a presence of mind to take Anna’s shirt off before starting this project. I took her outside, put some tempera yellow paint into a dish and showed her how to paint with rocks and sticks. Alas, she was not at all interested. She wanted to do handprints. To be exact, she wanted to put her hands into paint and smear it everywhere. I wish I could say that she was enjoying it, but she kept her troubled expression on her face, as if she was telling me – why am I doing this? I suppose that this can be explained by my own lack of enthusiasm for this messy project. Did I mention that I was tired, and that the thought of an upcoming massive cleanup didn’t appeal to me? At some point she did try to paint with the leaf, but it mostly meant putting the leaf in the paint, then washing the leaf off in the pail of water, then deciding that she wants to wash the paper in the pail of water too and see what happens. At this point I declared the end to this project and got out the water hose to wash off the worst of the paint.
In retrospect, maybe the experience wasn’t really that unsuccessful. After all, the goal is to focus on the process, not on an end result. However, so far our forays into open-ended art appear a little forced. I keep thinking that either I am doing something wrong, or maybe my daughter is too young for it or maybe she doesn’t have enough exposure to possibilities to be able to create something on her own. I guess I need some guidance and encouragement here. Anyone?