Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chalk without a Chalkboard

Today the Whistler nocturnes, and a sick toddler confined to the house, inspired me to try a new project using black and blue construction paper and chalk.  We have a very anemic and stained chalkboard on one side of our easel (we have an IKEA easel), but it doesn't get much use because it's stained, and the chalk doesn't make a very nice mark on it. This is probably the result of using dollar spot chalk and the board itself.  I have thought about painting part of a wall with chalkboard paint, or buying a larger chalkboard of better quality for the house, but I haven't done it yet.  You don't need a chalkboard to make interesting art with chalk though!

This morning I did a project with Tess, who is currently ill with croup and pretty miserable.  She had fun with this though.  First I taped several sheets of blue, purple, and black paper onto the floor.  I chose those colors because they reminded me of the nocturnes and it seemed like a nice palate for winter.  Then I gave her some chalk to draw with on the paper.
She enjoyed drawing with the chalk. One thing I didn't do, that I should have done, was break the chalk in two. Because she pushes hard when she draws with the chalk (which was new) it breaks, and that surprised and frustrated her at first.  I don't think she'd have objected if I had handed her each piece broken in half.  At any rate after she drew with the chalk for a while we decided to soak the chalk in water for about 10 minutes and see how that made the colors look different.  She loved looking at the chalk in the water, and the wet chalk made very vibrant colors.
Later, we all tried a project with water, chalk, and black construction paper I found in another one of MaryAnn Kohl's very useful and user friendly art books.  

The project was called, "Brightest Chalk Scribbles," and what I did first was put several sheets of black construction paper on our little red table.  The girls then took two large house paint type brushes and painted water all over the paper.  The paper absorbs so much water that not too much water ended up on our floor.  The girls loved this part!  They could have spent a long time with this and done it over and over.  Although the more saturated the paper gets, the more water will get on your floor.

Once they had the paper completely wet, it was time to draw with chalk.  They also dipped the chalk in the water.  Tess liked it when the paper tore, Josephine did not so much.  It will tear because it is so wet.  I thought it looked interesting to see the red table showing through the paper.  I reminded Jo about how Andy Warhol would make his instructions to people in his factory deliberately vague so that they would come up with things he didn't expect.   I should have told her about how Marcel Duchamp's Large Glass got broken accidentally and he then declared it finished.  But I put her through enough, lol!  The point is sometimes unexpected things add to the art.  They were both really involved with this project.  It was definitely more about the process than the product, but Jo drew for a long time on the wet paper and made some interesting images.  Tess especially loved dipping the chalk into the water.  

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