August 1, 2013

Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines

Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines

My two year old grandson, Calvin, is getting very good at squeezing a glue bottle.  Give him glue and piece of paper, and he will entertain himself for a long time.  I decided to save one of his glued papers, and we used it later to make the watercolor painting you see above.  


  • Calvin's first job was to squeeze glue onto a piece of white card stock.  

  • The glue needed to be applied thickly, which was no problem for Calvin.  He likes to let the glue puddle. 

  • The thick lines were visible even after the glue dried.

  • Since we were going to use watercolor paint, I had Calvin wet the paper first to help the colors flow together. We were going to use a technique called 'wet-into-wet'.  

  • His next job was to wet all the colors in the watercolor tray.  He was very good at wetting the colors, but not so good at washing the brush between colors.  Oh well, that's a lesson for another day.

  • We used Crayola Watercolors. They are my favorite watercolors for students. The brush and paint are of good quality.

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  • Since the paint couldn't penetrate the glue lines, it migrated to the spaces between.  As Calvin worked, he filled the painting with delicate, warm colored washes.  If it were my painting I would have stopped right there.  But not Calvin.  He plowed courageously ahead.

  • Calvin added some darker washes of color.  

  • The contrast made the warmer colors look even more striking.  Good choice, Calvin.

Extending the Activity:'s Art Glossary defines wet-into-wet painting as a technique where "'re using fresh (wet) paint onto paint that is still wet rather than onto paint that has dried."

Here are two more wet-into-wet ideas to use with kids.

Do you have a comment or a suggestion?  I'd love to hear from you.

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