We looked at our cabbage flowers and together, we chose three of the liquid watercolors: violet, magenta, and green. I set out the pastels and the paint, and for this, we used dry watercolor paper.
The oil pastels, of course, resist the watercolor. It’s fun to experiment with these together to see what happens. The effect of liquid watercolor on dry paper is far, far different from the Stockmar colors on wet paper, so much so that I took photos of the two versions together. (I think my Stockmar colors might have been a little too diluted; either that, or they’re just getting too old. I’m almost out anyway!)
Here are my toddler’s paintings, side by side.
She understood what we were doing with the pastels, and she colored with them first, then asked for paint. (She has a strong preference for the pink-purple color family!)
Here are my nine-year-old’s paintings.
I think he liked the ability to be more detailed.
And below, my six-year-old’s paintings.
These are both his second paintings of each session. On the top, he focused on just the stem of the flower, and then played with the pastels and the paints together to add background. He really enjoyed that part.
Approaching the same subject with similar yet different media really shows how much the choice of material affects the final work. I admit, I thought the liquid watercolors were garish; I liked the purple we mixed ourselves much better. It was calmer, to me, and more resonant, whereas the premixed purple just seemed so showy.
This is not to say that I don’t like the liquid watercolors–I’ve seen some really wonderful projects created with them. But the mood is entirely different, isn’t it? And yet, when I really look at the cabbage flowers, they are kind of showy, with their magenta veins running through deep green leaves. Perhaps the pastels and liquid watercolors were a better choice to catch their particular essence. As my kids and I experiment with different media, we can discover all the choices that go into a final work. What sort of mood are we aiming for? How do we want our artwork to feel, or to make other people feel? What colors do we need? (Do we need color at all?) So that when they have an idea in their head, they also have the first-hand knowledge of the best way to try and bring that idea to life.