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!

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4 Responses to “Watercolor and Rice Art”

  1. Jenny says:

    I have some watercolor paper! And the girls love to paint. Thank you for the links too- I’m intrigued by Zen Playdough at Fairy Dust Teaching…

    [Reply]

    Mom Unplugged Reply:

    I’ll have to look up the Zen Playdough, sounds interesting. Let me know how your rice watercolor goes with the watercolor paper. It will probably have a softer effect, more like that at Fairy Dust Teaching.

    [Reply]

  2. Hettie says:

    I’m so glad to see you are back on here Sarah! I’ve had a bit if unplugging myself (no more Facebook, very little blogging) in order to think about if it is time to throw in the towel or not. I’ve decided not to, but need to figure out where to go from here. We can work our way through together.

    I miss chatting with you my friend!
    Hettie
    Hettie´s last blog post ..{this moment}

    [Reply]

    Mom Unplugged Reply:

    So good to hear from you! It is hard to know where to go isn’t it? I like your idea of working through it together. So many changes, so much going on, I’ll email you. Thanks for noticing my reemergence and for your comment!

    [Reply]

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