Beauty in Art: Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting

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Wet on Wet Watercolor painting is how students and teachers get those beautiful, ethereal paintings that you see pretty much any time you Google Waldorf Education.  They are SO beautiful, and my kids are SUCH perfectionists, that I was honestly intimidated to start this with them.  They’ve seen gorgeous wet-on-wet watercolors, and I didn’t want them to get discouraged.  I shouldn’t have worried so much.  At. all.


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First, you need the proper supplies.  We got a set from the Little Acorn Learning Etsy Shop that included a jar holder, 3 glass paint jars with lids, and a board to place your paper on.  I really like this set, it’s $35 on Etsy, and I think it’s just lovely.  I really encourage each person to have their own set, including paint jars.  That way, when someone-who-is-6-years-old-and-shall-not-be-named accidently makes green out of his yellow, it doesn’t ruin everyone else’s paint.  You will also need bigger jars to mix your paint in, and paint concentrate.  This is NOT the same as the dry palate type watercolors that you find at many stores.  You can find concentrate at art supply stores, but I ordered Stockmyer paint from Meadowsweet Naturals.  It is the most commonly recommended brand by other Waldorf families, and we liked it.  You have to dilute the paint with water, so do this in your big jar, then pour into the little jars.  If you have paint left over, it can be stored in the fridge until next time.  You’ll also need Watercolor paper, of course, and a sponge.  Don’t try this on regular printer-type paper.  You won’t get as lovely a result.


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The first thing you need to do is soak your paper for about 15 minutes.  Many people use a big plastic tote or box to do this, I used our sink.  After it’s soaked, lay it on your board, and wipe the sponge across it, to remove the excess water.  I found the paper that we got was a bit big for our boards, so I’m going to look for a smaller size next time.  (Yep, we went through a whole bunch of paper, we already need more.)

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Next, have at it!  We only used the 3 primary colors, yellow, red, and blue.  This way, kids get a great chance to work on blending, mixing colors, and exploring.  MAKE SURE that you have cups of water for them to wash off their brushes with!!!

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We ended up with some absolutely beautiful work.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for the kids to make something really amazing their very first time.  This built up their confidence, which was a bit lacking after having trouble grasping block crayon drawing, and made Mama really excited.

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We’re going to string a line up in our dining room to put up our beautiful creations.  They deserve to be hung up!

A dear friend recommended that I read Between Form and Freedom {{aff link}} to help me understand my 12 year old better as she journeys through adolescence.  In the book, they talk about how much art can help teens work through some of the new experiences they’re having.  When I pulled out the watercolors, our chaotic day slowed WAY down.  There was peace, happiness, and everyone was getting along.  This peace carried through to the rest of the day.  I’d like to add more art like this into our day.  It’s hard for me to explain the atmosphere that changed in our home while we were painting, but it definitely was a spiritual blessing.  I really think it was good for Kaitlyn, letting her connect with that part of her that is still in a child’s dream-like state, while she’s been working so hard at being so “grown up.”

I’m going to leave you now with some of our work.  The color circle and purple crocus are mine, the rest belong to the kids.  :)

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If you’re interested in Wet-on-Wet Watercoloring, here are some great resources for you {{{aff links included}}}:

Waldorf Essentials has a great wet-on-wet watercolor tutorial as part of their Thinking, Feeling, Willing program

Syrendell’s Wet on Wet Watercolor Lesson ~ Video and eBook

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