After celebrating his second birthday with a studio and gallery opening, D became the proud owner of an absurd number of paint brushes. While he's happy to stick them in his nose, ears, and any nooks around the apartment, he hasn't really wanted to paint with them, so I've left the brushes, along with dozens of 2-ounce plastic bottles of paint, high on the shelf, unopened and unused.
The paints are out of reach, but not out of sight, and the other day D asked for them. He was delighted to fish each bottle out of the box, yell its color, and stack it carefully on the floor. And then it dawned on me.
Painters don't have to use brushes.
Since then, we've used a lot of paint. We've used fluffy pom poms to dab blobs of paint onto construction paper. We've pressed cut citrus and apples in paint to make interesting prints. We've stepped in paint to make colorful trails of footprints. Thus far, D's favorite activity has been what he calls "dip dot," which is dipping a single finger into paint and making dots on paper (the resulting artwork has made for great greeting cards!). But the other day, when D accidentally dotted the table, it occurred to me that we could dot other things too.
I recently bought a bagful of IKEA's FISKBO frames for a decorating project. I unwrapped one of the white frames while D picked out some paints. Then we squeezed small amounts of each paint into a silicone muffin pan. You can see from the gallery below that I was attempting to use the six wells for primary colors and neutrals so that we could talk about mixing, but D had other--and much better--plans.
I toyed with making a mat for the frame, but doing so would mean intruding upon D's creation (he's a bit young to wield X-Acto knives). So I had him pick a piece of cardstock and tape a picture onto it. The floating style is even better when the picture is a bit crooked.
So, lesson learned. When I stop assuming that painting requires brushes, or that paint colors should be kept separate, we usually have more fun.
While photographing for this post, D asked to use the camera. I think he got the best shot of the day.