First, I showed the children pictures of ink blots. I talked about how they can look like different things to different people. Some of the ideas they came up with for the ink blots they saw were: "duckies," "2 butterflies," and "moths."
I watered down acrylic paint until it was very thin. Each child chose which color to start with out of peach, yellow, or black. They then decided where on the canvas to place their blot with a large brush. After placing the paint, they used a straw to move the paint around on the canvas. We also tried blowing with large paper towel rolls, but they found those did not move the paint at all. After we went around the group, each child would choose another color and area to place it on. Some of the children placed the colors on top of each other while still very watery. They noticed the colors "spreading." One of the children said, "It looks like the storm outside." It was during our recent rain storm that they did the activity.
Much of the interesting effects of the watery paint stayed after the puddles dried. With the next group days later, they used black, cerulean blue, and mauve. In order to look more like the reference painting, dark pink can be used instead of mauve. Before the second session, the painting looked much different. It was also still beautiful with the amount of negative white space in between the blots. Conversely, I think if the children painted another layer, the black would look like the negative space and the white would become positive space.
The children had a lot of fun painting this way. They were engaged for a long time when using the straws. I think that using straws to make marks was a completely different technique of painting than they have ever done before. Perhaps it will inspire them to think of other creative ways of making art. For my next blog, I'll share the group activity I did with the 3 year old class.