Tuesday, May 18, 2010

finger-painting fun

When I was small the norm for art projects involved finger painting -
not so much anymore...
my kiddos thought I was nuts when I informed them 
they were going to paint with their fingers.
We expect them to be 'grownups' way too early...
to miss out experimenting and making messes...
but what a shame
and a missed opportunity
to make something like this...
and end up with hands like this...
and  learn all about color mixing on paper instead of on the palette.  
so let us begin...
Step #1
We started with red, yellow, blue, and white only...
and we divided our paper into three sections.
We painted one section with a mixture of yellow and white,
the next was yellow and red,
and the final section was yellow and blue.
We tried to do all mixing on the paper 
so we got some really interesting color mixes...
Step #2
We then looked at our pieces with an imaginative eye 
and tried to figure out what our painting could become.
Pencil was used to draw in the image.
Some paintings turned horizontal (or 'hot dog' versus 'hamburger' 
which is vertical for those of you that don't speak "kiddo").
We then mixed white and blue and 
painted over every part that would be in the background.
This is a very tough thing to do (at least for me).
Basically you are doing the opposite of what your brain wants to do.
But they brilliantly rose to the occasion!
Step #3
Outline whatever you see in the painting with permanent marker 
and draw doodles and texture to give interest...
and finally add oil pastels for the finishing touch.

So here is a before...
and after...

and another before...
and finished...

and the rest of the  masterpieces...
The one above is a view out of the window -
how clever is that?
Wow I was impressed -
wish I could return to that kid-like naiveté 
and take those blinders off my eyes
and just paint with wild abandon...

I got to finger-paint at Art Fest this spring
with Jesse Reno...
an amazingly gifted artist with a unique, imaginative
approach to painting.
but as I said before
it was really tough for me to think in a new way.  
This old brain sometimes does not like change...
So I am happy I got to try a second time
 and teach some younger brains some of his mixing techniques
(only primary colors and black and white mixed on the paper)
with the best tools around -
our fingers...
and I don't think my fingers have ever looked prettier!


  1. This is just awesome ! I love love love what those wonderful kiddos came up with when giving the freedom to just go for it. And yes, finger painting does make for gorgeous fingers !
    Brava !

  2. I loved seeing these, Pamela!!! For some reason I kept having trouble adding people to my blog list, but I finally got you on there!! Really hope all is well with you. :) -Shelly

  3. What a marvelous teacher you are. These photos make me want to join your class; great prompts and the kiddos made masterpieces. Well done!! xo

  4. Fabulous post! I can't wait to try it out with my students. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I came across your blog and fell in love with the artist Jesse Reno. We did a spin off of your idea. Gave you the credits on my site too! Thanks for sharing! ~marilyn day~