Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Art FAILS (or Lessons Learned)

I thought it would be fun to just go back and document some of the absolute failures while doing art with a one, two, and three-year-old (most of which were simply me not thinking things through). I wouldn't say a single one was a failure in the eyes of my Little Scribbler, and that's a huge take away. 
Little Scribblers are so focused on process, no art experience could really be a FAIL to them. Maybe you will avoid some of the same pitfalls after seeing them here, or maybe you'll decide to try them anyway. :)

  • If there's any particular feature about an art experience that this mama is possibly obsessive about, it's washability. This tissue paper fish project was absolutely one of our best as far as how it turned out and our enjoyment of the process, but the stains on our hands (and thankfully nothing else) made it a FAIL. Lesson learned: there are two types of tissue paper, one of them intentionally bleeds...and that's fun (and actually integral to this craft), but it also stains!
  • Crayon rubbing seems like it would be a staple art experience. Little Scribblers don't yet have the muscle control, or even strength, to move that crayon on its side. AND the whole idea might even seem a little crazy to them after being taught to hold the crayons, pencils, and markers straight up and down. This FAIL was saved by the fact that just scribbling over the same space (with a rubbing plate taped behind it) for extended amounts of time pretty much gives the same effect. Lesson learned: let's just call it "textured scribbling" instead of "crayon rubbings" for this stage.
  • Permanent marker and oil: beware! One of our experiments made a kind of "stained glass" look on paper. After using a water-based washable marker to color the whole paper, I decided a permanent marker would be a much bolder way to create the leaded look that goes between the different colors in real stained glass. It looked great, but when I added the oil that makes the paper translucent so that the sun can shine through it, the black design I had created with the permanent marker immediately began to bleed through the paper and into the table underneath it. I pulled the paper up before the whole design ended up on my table, but there is now a permanent reminder of this FAIL. Lesson learned: always put something under your artwork to protect the surface beneath it.
  • "Pop!" goes the suction cup. This would seem like a no brainer. And it is. Sometimes cause and effect are just not at the forefront of my thinking. We were experimenting with different textures of toy balls that we were rolling through red and white paint in order to create cool patterns, textures, and color mixing all at the same time. One particular ball we were trying is basically an entire ball of suction cups. The first couple of rolls worked out fine, but as the suction cups started to get wet from the paint, they started to suction to the paper...and as they rolled off (or were pulled off, eventually), they would "Pop!" and spray paint droplets everywhere. It makes sense that that would happen, I just can't say I was using my good sense at the time. Lesson learned:mixing washable paints with tempera paint makes them less washable.
  • Googly eyes that never stick. This is maybe more of a product problem, but we discovered the hard way that our Elmer's glue was just not going to keep plastic googly eyes on our art projects. Since this is a safety concern (perfect size and shape to block an airway), we are using googly eye stickers now. Note: the adhesive-backed googly eyes we've used in art classes have not had the same problem. Lesson learned: not all googly eyes are created equal.
  • Salt painting with finger paint. While our first attempt was a textural "win," the typical salt painting effect was not seen until we created a "wash" with our finger paint for the second attempt. A "wash" is created by adding water (which is what the salt draws out of the paint), usually in a ratio of about 1 part finger paint to 3-4 parts water. Of course, without the extra water of the "wash", our finger paint basically became kind of doughy. Lesson learned: if you FAIL the first time, investigate why and then try, try again.
Any art FAILS you've experienced? Lessons learned? Did your Little Scribbler care?

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