Process art is such a prominent word in art education. There are many people who can write about it much better than I can, like Meri Cherry, Stephanie from Twodaloo, and Mary Catherine from Fun-a-Day. If you want to dig a little deeper then definitely click on the links. In a nutshell, process art just means child-led exploration of materials without any expectations or “end” product. There is no right or wrong. It’s the opposite of craft. And just to be clear, I love both very much ~ process art and craft. I think there is room for both in a child’s creative pursuits (except when they’re really young, like ages 0-3yrs ~ then I think it should be process art all the way).
These paintings were made by my 4-6 yr olds in art camp. It’s a basic technique, sometimes called credit card painting. But you can use anything to scrape and pull and push the paint around on the tray. The idea is to just let the kids get messy (if they’re that type), explore and discover.
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~ A tray or cookie sheet
~ Squeeze bottles (or you could dip the scraper in paint, or you could use spoons to create blobs to spread)
~ Sulphite Paper (a denser type of white construction paper), or you could use recycle cardboard or watercolor paper
~ Scraper. We used credit cards (actually, they were mostly store cards like from the grocery store and sports store), but you can also use pieces of cardboard or anything flat.
~ Mix your colors. It’s kind of a good idea to stay within the same color family. Choosing warm colors, or cool colors, makes for prettier paintings. If you put out too many colors, especially contrasting colors, then you could get a lot of brown. But…since this is all about the process, it’s also fine if it does turn brown. I put out purple and yellow, which are opposite colors on the color wheel and which make brown. The kids all exclaimed loudly when they made brown, which amazed me. They love making brown apparently.
~ Tape a piece of paper inside your tray or cookie sheet.
~ Whether you are using squeeze bottles (highly recommended because kids love squeezing and you’ll use them again and again) or dipping, just put out your paint and your scraper and let the kids go! Tell them to just squeeze little bits because paint will start to collect around the edges of the tray.
~ My kids made many, like at least 5-8 each. Each time I gave them a new piece of paper I did put a little tape on the sides. Eventually the trays were too paint filled for the tape to stick, but I took some paper towel to wipe the tray. The tape does help so that the paper doesn’t move around. But ultimately, the paper just sticks to the tray without tape because it’s sticky wet!
I love how some kids got really messy, while others stayed perfectly clean! It was also interesting to me that each kid had their own certain style. After they were all dried and I hung them up, I could pick out who did what without seeing their names on the back. Developing their artistic style early! So cool.
They make for a pretty cool photo backdrop, too. This picture above is my fave because I had two sets of twins during this session. And they formed such a beautiful friendship! I love how art brings everyone together. I’m such a geek.
Do scrape painting!! It’s the coolest, the kids will love it. Don’t worry about the mess, it’s pretty contained to the tray and their hands. No paint on the walls or the floor.