Watercolor and Rice Art

By , September 23, 2013 9:28 am

I LOVE WATERCOLOR PAINT!  I like being able to just pull out the cute little box and the teeny, tiny brush, grab a cup of water, a piece of paper, and voilà!  Ready to go!  Plus with watercolor, I don’t live in fear of the post-art session cleanup.

If you are bored with just having your child slap some watercolor paint on a piece of paper, check out some of the creative watercolor ideas out there, such as these from The Artful Parent, or those featured in a top ten list at KidsArt.

I decided to jazz up a recent 3 to 6 year-old art class watercolor session by trying this interesting idea from the Fairy Dust Teaching Blog that I can sum up in one word:  Rice.

The idea is to paint lots of water color on the page, sprinkle on dry rice, and let it sit while everything dries.  The rice should absorb some of the paint and produce a lovely, ethereal bubbly/frost-like effect.

I told the kids to paint whatever they wanted.  They could do one color across the whole page, a pattern, a picture or multiple random colors.  The trick, I said,  was to cover the whole page with color (this was a bit too much to ask of a few of the 3 year-olds, but that’s OK).

As they finished, I brought out the secret rice ingredient.  The kids loved sprinkling on the rice!  A few were so into it that they made big piles.

I was worried that since the children were taking so long to paint, the paper and paint might be drying out.  I resolved this by squirting each page with some water before the final step of rice application.

The results were mixed for us.  Each child produced a lovely watercolor painting to take home.  Only a few of those works really showed that rice had been present, and the effect was of rice outlines, very pretty and cool, but not what I had hoped for.

What I learned:

  • Sally of Fairy Dust Teaching used watercolor paper for her lovely effect.  I used what I had on hand, plain old copy paper (a risky move on my part!).
  • I think that the paint needs to be very richly applied and be very wet, not a technique that is natural for most little ones with watercolor.  However, this is probably much easier to achieve with watercolor paper that is more far more absorbent than what I used.
  • The effect can be cool on plain old copy paper too, but it was only obvious in the work of those children who really used a lot of paint.

My favorite painting is the one at the top of the post.  Personally, I think the copy paper effect looks a bit like a microscopic image of bacteria.  I see a science tie-in here somehow!

Bold and Positive Girl Shirts!

By , September 19, 2013 10:58 am

My 13 year old  daughter is not a “girly-girl.”  She does not like pink.  She does not like purple.  She does not like sparkles.  She even complains that the little cap sleeves on “girls’ shirts” are not as comfy as the “normal” sleeves on boys’ clothes.  My daughter reads a lot, runs cross-country, and is determined to get her private pilot’s license on her 17th birthday.  She is the perfect customer for Girls Will Be, a store for “girl clothes without the girly.”

Here you can find unique shirts in sizes 4 through 12 with positive messages.  No “Princess” or “Spoiled Brat.”  No images of boy pop bands, Angry Birds, or teenage TV “role model” actresses.  There is also a noticeable lack of glitter, sparkle, ruffles, and spandex.

My daughter chose an airplane shirt (the plane image is actually a flock of birds) and a bold but cute dog shirt. We have a “Bold Daring Fearless Adventurous” tee on pre-order!

If you visit, be sure to read the “About” page.  The store was recently founded by two sister moms (of “non-girly” girls) and their artistic brother who designs the shirts himself.  They write:  “We hope Girls Will Be helps empower young girls to be themselves and never feel like they need to conform to the increasingly narrow definition of “girl” reflected in far too many of the clothes (and other products) marketed to them.”

I also like that this cool family maintains a blog where they showcase clothing and accessories from other stores that meet their non-girly standards.

Fortunately for the Girls Will Be team, demand is high for their products (which are all made in the United States) and you might have to pre-order and wait a bit to get the shirt you want.  The wait is worth it though since the quality and comfort-level are excellent and, most importantly, my daughter loves her unique shirts and wears them often.

There is nothing wrong with being feminine, but it is important that girls have a clothing choice.  My daughter and I wish the Girls Will Be team lots of success in their very worthy enterprise!

 

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