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Collaborative learning

I have been doing a lot of watercolour painting this vacation and P has been pestering me to do one on his own. His conditions were – ‘using your paints, your brushes and on handmade paper’. At the risk of my watercolour tray getting mixed and messed up, I gave in to his long standing demand.

So today he got up all excited, finished his morning routine at express speed and sat down determined to paint his masterpiece. When I asked he what he wanted to paint, he told me emphatically, ‘I have it all figured out. I want to paint an ulsavam aana (caparisoned elephant) – the one we clicked during the ulsavam (temple festival). You draw it for me and I will look at the photo and paint’. I was taken aback with the level of planning and so I just followed his ‘figured out’ plan.

With the photo in front of him, he started his work with a little prayer. I was surprised to see how much he has been observing me when I paint – I always start my paintings with a small prayer.

Since watercolour is a new medium for P, I had to guide him through it despite his protests. We worked on the art together, with me highlighting the edges and P painting as per my instruction. And just like that we came up with our first collaborative work.

The time spent, as always gave me a peek into my little boy’s head, a rare opportunity given the fact that his world is now infused with friends, sports, books, play and the likes. When we finished our painting, I told him how I loved our ‘art time’ to which  P cheekily replied ‘I think we should do this more often amma. I can teach you so many things!’

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Math, measurement and mosaic painting

Over the last few weeks, shapes (square, circle,triangle) has caught P’s fancy. The fact that he had a worksheet on shapes, to do as Math holiday homework, may have prompted it. When we had our window panes filled with various shapes, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce P to mosaic painting.

Mosaic painting addresses multiple skills and is one of the basic, long drawn sessions in art schools. It helps in steadying the hand (pincer grip), teaches how to divide the drawing into perfect squares, basics of shading, having contrasting colours adjacent to each other, concept of cool colours and warm colours etc.

Of course for P, I used it to get him to colour within lines and introduced him to the concept of having two different colours near each other. This way he had to think before he coloured a square. I loved the way he planned out his colour scheme to ensure no two sqauares had the same colour.

Since the technique called for pictures that have enough room for sqaures, he stuck to elephant and bappa (Ganesha) and had to let go of drawing a plane. I drew out the sqaures for him, which then he coloured using water colours. P also realised he couldn’t paint two adjacent sqaures at one go as the colours merged, so he had to do alternate squares.

Once the squares were filled, he outlined it with black. He did have a meltdown when the outline of the elephant didn’t exactly come out well, so I had to do the Ganesha, lest his art got spoilt!

I loved how this simple colouring sqaures unknowingly taught P so many rules and facets of water colouring. And yes the paintings have gone up on our ‘door of fame’.

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