About the shining

June 12, 2023

Marie writes-

A child joyfully calls out “Look, look! I made the color of the sea!”

We come closer to admire this latest kid-made discovery at the paint easel. Here children work with the primary colors plus black and white on a large tray for mixing. Painters explore what they can make happen, building their knowledge of color making through repeat experience and by observing (and celebrating!) work by other children.

The paint easel is a visible and social focal point in our classroom. 

When you’ve mixed up a color on your tray that feels just right- for color captures our feelings- use the brush to move it across the paper. We have a lot of paint, so much fresh paper, and open ended time to see what happens. 

Today is the first day of our summer program and we’ve just completed a full school year here. Setting up the paint tray for these experienced color mixers now also includes additional special colors by the artist’s request. S is five years old and working with turquoise and an extra vibrant green today.

S has, since his very first day of school here, been exploring color at our easel and giving each new color he makes a name. He was a bit mournful at first, the day he made “harvest gold”, certain he wouldn’t remember how to make it again. My teacher suggestion was, hmmm, if you tell me how you made harvest gold I could write down what your steps are, how to do it, for use again when you want to remember?

Today he uses me as a resource to document how to make sea green (“some blue, some turquoise, and some green”) and how to make very very very very very dark blue (“a lot of blue, medium dab of green, some turquoise, and a little bit of black”).

I admire the color he used for the fish- so bright it seems to glow. Yes, he says proudly, that’s salmon.

And look here, I say, peering closely at the fish- I think my favorite detail in this painting is the way you’ve added just a little bit of a very light pink, just in a few places. It’s different than the salmon color but it sure goes with it, just right. 

Yes, he says softly, that’s to show about the shining.

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