I've been making artist trading cards for a few years now, and every time I've been in a swap, Peanut has been right by my side, watching, helping and just so curious about what I was doing. When Blair and Erin planned this swap for kids, I signed him up immediately. I'm not sure how they were able to do it, but they grouped the kids by age. Peanut is in a group of six kids, all of whom are four-and-a-half years old. He couldn't wait to get started. Right away he knew he wanted to do watercolor.
This is a traditional style of watercolor painting that is used in many Waldorf schools. Most of you are probably already familiar with this method, but for those who aren't, it's a simple and beautiful way of bringing color alive.
Here's the method we used:
Using good quality watercolor paper, you begin by soaking the paper in a sink or bowl full of water. Once the paper has absorbed some water (after approximately fifteen minutes), lift it out and gently run your fingers or a sponge on both sides to remove excess water. At this point I folded the paper to the correct ATC size (2.5" x 3.5") and gently tore them apart. By tearing the paper you get a softer edge and when it is painted, it soaks up more of the pigment making it create a naturally darker border. Next, Peanut got out his watercolors and began mixing colors. This is his favorite part, he loves to experiment with color. The beauty of using such thick paper is that he is able to "erase" something he isn't happy with by clearing the paint off with water. The last step, and my favorite part (because it is so magical), is once you are satisfied with the color and before the paint dries, take a salt shaker and shake salt over portions of the painting. As it dries the salt crystals gradually suck up the pigment leaving star-like patterns on the paper.
It's more visible on a bigger painting like this one.
Once Peanut finished the cards we decided to use the styrofoam stamping technique to stamp his name to the back of each card so he only had to write his name once.
Peanut is now eagerly waiting for the mailman after preschool each day.