art · Crafting · Empowering Art · preschool

Resist Painting inspired by Peter Reynolds’ “The Dot”

Resist painting during preschool art class with liquid watercolors, inspired by The DotMy first lesson for the Preschool Fine Art enrichment course was a success! The class introduces young artists to art historical movements, techniques and concepts, while demonstrating art’s expressive capacity. The students and I had so much fun creating together, and I wanted to share their work and process here.

For our first session, I started off with story time, reading The Dot. I think most art educators will agree that it doesn’t get much better than this gem of a tale, about just how far you can travel artistically by starting with one simple dot. 

After discussing what the story taught us (yes, you are an artist — all you have to do is make a mark and let it lead you), the kids used oil pastels, crayons and chalk to design within and around their own dots. Some students were quite focused, paying more attention to detail than others, so while the “all done!” kids were waiting for the others to finish, I led a color mixing activity. I handed out sheets with three interlocking circles, which the kids filled in with red, yellow and blue. We discussed primary and secondary colors as the kids observed the colors that emerged from the primary colors combining. Color mixing with primary and secondary colors

Before bringing back our crayon and pastel-filled dots, I distributed small cups of water and droppers to each student. I placed one cup of oil at each table and instructed the kids to use the droppers to place a few droplets of oil into their water and observe the reaction. They noticed that the oil and water did not mix, and that the oil formed little bubbles atop the water.  Mixing oil and water in art class

I told the students how their crayon and oil pastel designs will act just like the oil, and how the watercolor paint will act just like the water. Their designs will fight the watercolor, shining through it rather than being covered up, just as the oil droplets held their own in a pool of water.

The kiddos were then granted free reign to cover their dots with a watercolor wash. They could use whatever colors they wanted, and were encouraged to color their whole page (many refused to do so, which was great too). The kids loved watching as the liquid watercolors illuminated the crayon, pastel and chalk designs beneath it. It was a perfect opportunity to introduce the concept of resist painting. 

The results are stunning, aren’t they? Next week we’ll explore texture, creating works inspired by Ish.


4 thoughts on “Resist Painting inspired by Peter Reynolds’ “The Dot”

  1. I LOVE THIS! First off, congratulations on the great class you taught! What an interesting time you gave them. I love the dot resist drawings and have added this to my list of arts/crafts to do with my girls. I recall, vaguely, doing this in elementary school – and how vivid the paintings ended up.
    Also, I love the color mixing – Can’t believe I never thought of that! That conveys so much more than a traditional color wheel…

    Liked by 1 person

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