We spent our summer vacation traveling quite a bit. We planned a multi-modal, multi city travel and managed to travel by all modes of transport – car, double-decker buses, trains, trams, subways and of course P’s favourite planes. It was a fist for P in many ways. His first road trip, first air museum, transport museum, first experience of sitting in a fighter plane cockpit, cockpit experience in a retired nuclear bomber, Legoland, theme park, farms, horses and walking for long stretches just taking in the beauty of nature.
There were a zillion questions and wondering and marvel at every point and I was prepared for some sort of translation into art when we came back. I expected him to draw planes, nature, the farm with its farm animals etc. and that too much after we settled in after our long journey.
Much to my surprise (or not!), P got into action the minute we put our bags down at home. He quickly scurried to get his wooden planks, planes and knick-knacks to re-create the big busy airports he saw. It was the first time he had seen parallel runways, subway trains for terminal transfer and of course so many A380s, dreamliners and jumbo jets taking off and landing as if on his request. It was certainly a dream come true for my little fellow.
‘I don’t want to miss the details amma’ he told me when I asked him what prompted him to get to work asap. Sure enough, he hasn’t missed any!
Articulated bus for passenger transfer
Aero bridge, articulated bus, train for terminal transfer
P came home from school singing’Ekla chalo re’. It was the new song they were learning in their music class at school. He was super excited to learn a Bengali song. I asked him if his teacher taught him the meaning of the song and he answered negative. I thought it was a lovely opportunity to talk about the song and a similar song that I play in my head when I’m at crossroads – Subramaniya Bharathi’s ‘Acham illai, acham illai’ (Be fearless). I can still visualise my Tamil teacher singing this song to us with pride and telling us to imbibe the meaning.
We listened to the ‘Ekla chalo re’ song on you tube. I read out the meaning of the lines. Of course it was a tad difficult for him to fully understand the meaning. So I adapted it to facing our fears, head on and bravely moving ahead.
I also played ‘acham illai, acham illai’ and explained the meaning to P. The video of the song was set to India’s independence struggle and how Bharathiyar inspired common man with the song.P connected better to this song.
We then spoke about our fears and how we must bravely face it singing ‘acham illai, acham illai’. P said his fear is being alone in the dark. I prodded him to draw it and also think about how he will face his fear. He drew a self portrait of him alone at home at night. He drew his favourite God bappa (Ganesha) who will help him face his fears. He kept chanting ‘acham illai, acham illai’ and singing ‘ekla chalo’ as he painted.
A picture I will always treasure in my heart!
P came with an unusual request today. ‘Amma, I want to see and paint the Jungle Hospital story’. We have in the past, done art work based on stories and characters that P has loved. In all those, the art that followed were largely from P’s memory and imagination. So today’s request took be aback.
I gave in when he reasoned that he just couldn’t draw the Nurse elephant in her costume or Timmy Tiger with his leg in a cast or Philip Frog in a wheel chair, without seeing the book.
The story, ‘The Jungle Hospital’ from the book ‘Bedtime 2 Minute Tales’ has been P’s favourite in the last 2 weeks. He has been fascinated with Nurse elephant and how she heals other wounded animals in the story, for long.
P soon sat down with the story book and his art book and got to work. He had a tough time trying to get the orientation, perspective and depth right and kept calling for help from me. I did pitch in but kept it at the bare minimal as I wanted him to understand there is no ‘right way’ in art. He has to enjoy the process, even if it meant crooked faces, jagged lines, wrong perspectives or numerous correction. He should not draw or paint to please the gallery.
Big concept, I know, but my little fellow did manage to get it and soon shut the book and let his imagination flow.
P coloured his work in crayons, outlined with sketch and later gave a bright water colour wash to the entire painting.
My boy has truly made a big leap – of drawing on his own, mixing various medium and most of all enjoying the process.
P and I hate the long spells of not doing art projects together. While P indulges in art on a daily basis with his random drawings, painting or just creating things with his blocks, ice cream sticks and other stuff lying around the house, our ‘art together’ time is getting challenged. So today we more than made up for it by doing a long pending project – smoke art.
I was inspired seeing a few smoke paintings online and at a gallery in the city. Smoke painting is a difficult art and needs great dexterity and manipulation to get the right form and effect. P is too young for it and I am still learning it. So I thought a simpler version of it will be a great start.
Warning: Parental guidance is required for this project
Materials required: Candle and Paper
Method: Light the candle and slowly move the paper (right side on the flame) over the candle till the black smoke creates dancing patterns on the white paper.
First we tried on plain paper
and then on some of P’s previous art work.
P even tried to draw stars and moon with a Q-tip over the smoke.
We loved the smokey texture and background on the paintings – especially the Ganesha one. It gave a celestial touch to P’s art!
P is still settling into his longer school schedule, the fall out of which is our far spaced art projects. Hence, we were delighted when we found a free morning and soon got down to our art work.
One of the things I had lined up was scratch painting. Guess P found the word ‘scratch’ more appealing than the rest of the lined up art projects, so scratch painting it was. I must confess, I too was inclined to this as there is some sort of therapeutic pleasure in scratching out paint!
I got P to start off by drawing his favourite object (plane – a no brainer!) on paper. I then made him colour it with oil pastels. A tip – the more colours you use the better the final art work will be. So P used a lot of pink, green and blue.
I then got him to paint the whole sheet with black acrylic paint. When the paint was still wet, we started to scratch out the black paint using toothpick, fork and any slightly sharp object. As he started scratching, the bright oil colours started to reveal, which looked stunning against the black. P kept scratching till the shape of the plane revealed.
A visibly thrilled P claimed he can now paint night scenery too!
P got a lovely gift from his favourite aunt (we call her our in-house Santa Claus!) – spin art set. It’s a more sophisticated version of blow and rotate art, which we used to do as kids. Back then we would put paper on a plate and when one would keep rotating the plate, the other will drop the paint and blow it to get a spin effect. The end product is very abstract and the fun part is it is different each time. This set is of course more posh, less messy and can be done by one person/child.
I asked P to describe the art for me once he finished and he immediately said ‘Solar system’. I was pleasantly surprised when he went on to detail the sun, planets and comets! That is a possibility that didn’t cross my mind! We then went on to talk a lot more about shooting stars and milky way.
We made birthday cards out of the final pieces of art for ammuamma (granny),a cousin brother and an aunt who have their birthdays this month.
P’s love for elephants continues to spill on to his art. I was organising his art work the other day and to my surprise, I realised he had taken to the pachyderm long back. He had painted them using most of the media we had learnt and experimented with. Here is a collage of the pachyderm in various media, from melted crayons to cut colour paper to salt painting and bleeding water colours.
As I write this post, P is busy spinning a story around an elephant, his two favourite dogs Taz and Droopy who have all decided to go to Cochin (Kerala) for their vacation.
Dogs, planes, trains,elephants, butterflies, they all seem to dominate most of my preschoolers waking hours. I hope all this will soon spill out on various art work.