Painting, Finding Our Way and FormMay 03, 2023
“SILENTLY AND WITHOUT A RUSH,I GENTLY STROKE WITH MY PAINT BRUSH
THE PAINTED SHAPES AND FORM ARISE IN BEAUTIFUL COLORS, BEFORE MY EYES”
I can still recall the moment I picked up a paint brush and moved toward a wet painting paper. I had to follow the instruction of a seasoned Waldorf teacher and I had never felt so overwhelmed and inspired at the same time. Watching the colors move and dance on this paper was truly a beautiful experience. I immediately questioned the absence of form and structure and again over thought the process. As young teachers we often did that! I was new to Waldorf education and my mentor instructed me that the children will paint every week. I had just started in a Class 5 year and saw the manner in which the children painted and was in such awe. They also have been doing this for 6 years longer than what I have! I have grown to truly love painting in this manner as you are always surprised by your end result and you can never duplicate your efforts. I have had the privilege to start a cycle with children in class 1 and see how they find their method with the brush, paint, paper and of course the water.
Painting will bring the child focus, calm, joy and perseverance, as it does with the teacher. I have seen the temperaments of a child shown within a painting and seen the healing benefits of painting brought to a child in turmoil.
The painting lesson always needs structure, routine and rhythm. This brings an inner discipline and joy to a child. There will be resistance as the child often feels overwhelmed when their colors run or they do not seem to find their form. We then bring calm and encouragement and lead with our own efforts. There is the most unique and gentle stillness within a painting lesson that is not often found in another. The painting lesson should be collaborative as the children get older and they need to assist in the setting up and packing away of all their equipment. You will always find children warming to certain colors and fill their pages with them. Each color really has a life of its own and it becomes a gentle dance of mixing and blending to bring our vivid stories to life.
As with all aspects of Waldorf education, the colors too are brought to the children slowly, carefully and with wonderful stories. It will be messy, it will be difficult at times but the results are always beautiful. There is a moment where a child finds this wonderful switch and the colors move and blend effortlessly. As they get older the paintings become more detailed and concrete as the children have practiced this skill for some time and are able to bring life to their creations. Join your child in the journey of color and always be kind to your efforts as they will continually change and move!
~ By Mr. Siepker
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