Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fall Leaves (if at first you don't succeed, try, try again)

The 3 and 4-year olds went on a walk in the forest. I wanted them to document this experience with what I would describe as a story collage. I wanted to recreate the map that I used to outline our journey and then introduce the colors and textures of the trip itself.

I had this idea that I wanted the components of this project to be crisp and clean in color. The day was one of those beautiful, clear, Washington DC days. So I cut a bunch of white construction paper to serve as the backdrops for a sky painting and the Fall leaf collage.

We talked about the colors we saw on the trip and how the leaves were slippery to walk on. We talked about the color of the sky -- and although we are open to using any color for the sky, they all agreed, to a one, that the sky was bright, light blue. They named the colors of the leaves, yellow, orange, red, and brown. Being outside for a long period of time seemed to bring all the colors they saw into perfect clarity.

Because there was also a question of texture, I had this other idea that we would layer chunks of paper in the shades they named for the leaves. I collected strips of different scraps of paper and set these out for the children to collage onto the white construction paper.

Me and my big ideas.

The sky came out bright and blue, but the leaf collages looked absolutely tropical.

Something had to be done. The collages simply did not read, "Fall Leaves, Washington Metropolitan Area." As the collages dried, the colors came out even brighter! Pinks and lime greens, oh my!

Cue watercolor wash, golf balls, and tempera.

We set up a two-step process. Watercolor toned the brightness down and introduced the bass notes needed to set the stage for the next step, golf ball painting. Cardboard trays and tempera paint in the different shades brought the Fall covers completely back.

Once these were dried, the children assembled their maps.

Some of the maps still retained their bright colors, but I was much relieved to see something that more closely resembled what the children were describing.

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