One of our family traditions at the beginning of each new season is to create a custom seasonal paint palette. When Bean was little, these were the paints that she had free access to and so were used for all of her paintings during that season. Now that she is older, she has free access to a really wide range of art and craft supplies. Despite this, she still enjoys and asks to mix her seasonal paint palette. It's become one of the many special rituals that help her to ease into each new season.
We create our seasonal paints in these sweet little jars, from Myriad Natural Toys (not affiliated). I like that the jars have lids, so that they can be stored in between sessions, and that they fit beautifully in the holder, avoiding spills. Recycled baby food jars make a perfect budget-friendly alternative.
We use the Stockmar brand of liquid watercolours to create our seasonal paints. I know that the price of these paints is off putting, but I bought the full set of 6 colours when Bean was 2 years old and they are still going strong SEVEN years later. They are heavily pigmented, so you really only need a drop or two, diluted with water. For watercolour painting, I really feel that they are worth the investment for vibrant, beautiful paintings. Having said that, you can just as easily create a seasonal paint palette with the cheapest brand of ready mixed paints.
To create our seasonal paint palette for autumn, I dug out our remaining paints from our summer paint palette. Two of the jars were empty and washed, ready for new colours to be created. The others had a little paint remaining, ready to be customised. We try to recycle any remaining drops of paint if we can.
I provide Bean with a small jug of water to dilute the paints, a pipette for mixing and for making minor adjustments, a sheet of watercolour paper for testing the paints, and a selection of watercolour brushes. Plus a glass of water for washing the brushes and a sheet of kitchen roll for drying the brushes.
Bean started by adding a little Prussian Blue to the orange from her summer paint palette, to create a brown. She diluted the paint with the water from her jug, mixed it with her pipette and then tested it on her watercolour paper. Once she was happy with her shade of brown, she added some of it to the yellow and green from her summer paint palette to mute the colours slightly and make them 'feel more autumn-y'.
The vibrant red from her summer paint palette needed topping up, and then had the same brown treatment as the yellow and green. She made a fresh orange, and then a deep, dark purple, adding a little brown to them too. Once finished, and satisfied with her colours, she was free to paint.
For younger, or less experienced artists, it can be helpful to provide your child with some seasonal references for them to look at while creating their paints. This could be prints, pictures from seasonal stories, or you could type the name of the season into your online search engine, select 'images' and prop open your device for them to see. Alternatively, you could set up this invitation to create in the great outdoors.
I think the shades of autumnal colours she has created are absolutely beautiful, and it's going to be such a joy to watch her paint with them over the coming weeks and months.
Once her painting was dry, I cut around the edges of her 'Autumn Tree' and used it as a backdrop for the poem we are learning by heart this term. A beautiful poem, and the first I have read with any reference to home education. With thanks to Sarah, who shared the poem in her IG stories.
I wonder how Bean's winter paint palette will turn out? Do you feel inspired to create a seasonal paint palette with your children?
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