Wednesday, April 18, 2012

wax resist

This week, I did a wax resist activity with a second-grade class that has done many, many art lessons with me. They know my basic art behavior rules -- look carefully.... think about your work.... choose colors thoughtfully... THEN do the art. I always try to give enough direction without being too detailed, because I want kids to be creative AND end up with something they are proud of, so for this adventure in wax resist I gave them some choices of "what to draw" -- a sun design, landscape, cityscape, or flowers. I showed them a few samples of my own tries, which I took away after they looked at them. The "rules" were to use a light color crayon and only two colors of paint.

I've done wax resist lessons with black crayon, white crayon, colors, whatever. This time, it was light crayons only, with the idea that the paint would be dark. I didn't think to tell them that if they used a yellow crayon, they should not use yellow paint, so some are not as contrasting as they could be. The biggest success of this particular activity was that every student was totally engaged in both their drawings and their painting process. Overall, they had fun

Kids usually like working with wax resist. They seem to think it's like magic that the paint is resisted by the crayon, and they do become very engaged in the process. But I have found that the technique can be tricky. For one thing, students don't always press hard enough with the crayons, so the crayon doesn't come through as it should. They also seem to have a hard time getting enough paint onto the brushes, resulting in a washed-out composition. And, they have a tendency to want to use every color in the watercolor pan, resulting in a kind of mess, especially if they ignore me when I suggest that they not paint on top of paint. When I had my own art classroom, I took all the black and brown paint out of the pans, for just this reason

We did end up with some pretty good results AND I got a few more ideas about how to present the lessons. For one thing, I need to remember to remind them that if the crayon is light, they need to use darker colors of paint, and plenty of it, so that the crayon will come through. And vice-versa.
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8 comments:

neansai said...

The paintings are so full of life! I'll be doing this with my grandson one of these days.

Renee said...

Nancy... I am considering trying this with candles instead of crayons. Haven't ever done that, but I think it's worth a try. I do like when kids use white crayon on white paper, but they really have to press hard.

neansai said...

Let me know how candles work...scented maybe? what brand crayon works best?

Renee said...

Nancy, I am going to try regular, ordinary white household candles. They are very cheap, and no, not scented. As for crayons, I SWEAR by Crayola. I have never used another brand with the same brightness of color.

neansai said...

let me know how the candles work. I found some old white ones around the house.

elizabeth said...

This cracks me up - I wish you could hear the kids I babysit slyly informing me that they like this or that other adult because "she doesn't take away the black and brown paint." But it makes such a difference!

Renee said...

Ah, elizabeth.... I have never understood why kids go so easily for the black and brown, ending up obliterating all evidence of drawings. I say, "use a bright color" and they go for brown. I say, "ok you want this piece to be very colorful" and they use black AND brown. So I just solved the problem..... :-)

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