Exploring Colour with Emphasis on the Process

The overall theme for the creative workshops in the first term of this year is exploring colour through a variety of activities and techniques. That means mixing colour, painting, pasting, eating food of different colours, moving with colours and creating mood paintings with colour as we did in our last creative extra mural session in the Stanford community hall.

The children worked on thick paper and used food colouring with a wet-on-wet technique which gives them opportunity to play and let the colour flow. The activity was engaging and many of the children used their hands.

The variety of outcomes is endless, unique and very satisfying for the kids. There is no pressure as the end product is not the focus but rather the exploration and fun while doing the activity.

After the session the children were given an opportunity to show their creations. One girl came up to me and showed me her piece with a huge smile on her face. She had mixed all the colours together and had created a deep purple on her page. We both looked at it and I asked her, How did you create this colour? She thought for a while and then said, I first put yellow, then red, then green, and then blue and mixed it all with my hands.

The smile on her face and the satisfaction that she shared with me was wonderful. I also noticed that she could recall all the colours and the sequence in which she had created her painting. Not only had she learnt something but most importantly she enjoyed the process and was proud of what she had achieved.

This conversation led me to think about how we as adults approach children’s art and their actions in general. I thought about how much focus is put on the outcome of our activities, even from an early age, rather than the journey we take to get there and the experiences that teach us valuable lessons.

If we want to set children up for success we can teach them different techniques, give them valuable tools and educate them to our best abilities but we must also give them the freedom to paint and create their world in their own colours.

by Regina Broenner