Nature Painting

from SMOCKtributor: Sian Thomas of Teach Investigate Play

Hey there lovely Smockstars! I'm thrilled to be writing a guest post for Smocks On because they are some of my all-time favourite instagrammers. After a stint co-hosting when the lovely Melissa was on maternity leave, I can confirm that they are every bit as awesome as you imagine them to be!

Smocks On is all about the together art and for us, that means big, messy process art projects! Having a 6.5 year age gap between kids has resulted in us thinking more about the process over the end product, but that's not to say it's any less beautiful (in my opinion!)

One of our favourite arty activities is painting with nature. It's super simple, low in cost and creates beautiful results. On a recent walk of our local suburb, we found lots of flowers that had fallen after a particularly crazy storm, so we decided to collect them and take them back for a paint session.

Here's what you can do to create your own nature-based masterpiece at home:

1. Go on a nature hunt!

First off, head out to either your backyard, local suburb or anywhere surrounded by nature, to collect some nature treasures. We only use what has fallen onto the ground, effectively giving nature debris a new lease of life! If it's mid-winter in your part of the world, you could always try saving fresh-cut flowers next time you are gifted some.

In most weathers you can get outside to collect some treasures, you just need the right clothing!)

2. Set up your invitation to create:

The tricky thing about writing a blog post on process art is that there actually isn't a strict way to create it! However, I will generally set up a creative invitation that looks like this:

Use a canvas, cardboard of even an old bed sheet to paint on.
The key here is paint choice. Choose a variety of paints that compliment or mix well with one another otherwise you'll end up with a massive brown sludgy mess. We always use non-toxic acrylic paints or some of our own homemade paints (cornflour, water and food colouring, for example) mainly because the kids REALLY get into the mess making and end up covered in paint!

3. Let the kids loose!

If it's their first time doing this, you may need to demonstrate what they need to do, otherwise just let them go for it! You'll find that the more you have fun with this type of creative process, the quicker the kids will just get on with the painting!

We've been doing process art since Zoey was one -- a year on and she knows exactly what to do!

4. Celebrate the final result

Whatever the final product looks like, celebrate it! Sometimes, they lose interest after a few swipes of a leaf and other times the canvas will literally be covered in glops of paint but most importantly, they've had a chance to explore and get creative.

The painty smudge you see is a trademark of Zoey's "paint skating."

Some other ideas to try:

Vertical leaf painting -- this was Zoey's very first foray into nature painting, We used finger-paints and crunchy leaves from the garden as paintbrushes.

Pine cone roll -- such a fun way to do some action art! Simply use a cardboard box, squeeze in some paint and roll the pine cones in the box!

Autumnal nature treasure painting -- This is a particularly great activity to try in Autumn (Fall) when there are just so many nature treasures to find.

I'd love to see your own nature paint results so tag me in on Instagram!
Sian x

About Teach Investigate Play: Teach Investigate Play was created by primary teacher-turned-blogger, Sian, after finding maternity leave a little isolating. She is passionate about making learning fun through creativity and play, regularly sharing ideas on Instagram, Facebook and her website.
Sian lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband and two children.

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