Little kids aren’t the only weirdos who like to make process art. Big kids are all about getting messy, playing with paint, pushing art materials across a surface, and not worrying about the outcome. After all, they’re at the age where they start to refer to themselves as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ artists, and neither one of these labels does anything productive for how a kid sees themselves in the creative world.
In fact, I was always given lots of attention for being a ‘good’ artist, but all that made me lazy, and I didn’t feel like I needed to work very hard. I’m sort of pissed at my young lazy self.
But let’s get back to the tweens and how they’re in limbo and want to grow up, but still want to be kids, and one minute they’re hugging you and playing with your hair, and the next minute they’re snapping, “What are you talking about?” and then you sigh and wonder how many more years of this you have to weather?
Then you set up a giant canvas, shove some paints in their hands, and tell them to have at it.
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Then everyone has fun and is friends again, art has been made, and the gods of parenting smile upon you.
We used a big pre-painted canvas that Christian covered with primer or white paint or something to cover up the previous art. I think he got it at a thrift store. In any event, you can scour thrift stores for big old canvas artworks, or you can buy a new one. (I just found some on the Blick website, and they’re really good prices. You could get a big one or a few smaller ones if you want to have more than one canvas going.)
The kids got their Jackson Pollock on and stood on the deck, dripping and squeezing paint right from the bottles onto the canvas down on the grass. I had some bottles of craft paint left over from some previous projects, and big old bottles of tempera paint, and let them decide which ones they wanted to use. (All of them.)
After the paint was all tapped out, Christian and Fen held the canvas on either side and rolled a ball all over the surface – trying not to drop the ball.
Next, Fen decided she wanted to smear the paint all over the canvas. We leaned it up against a big old tree, and she swooped and smeared, scraped in with her fingernails, smeared back over that, and continued the process for about 1/2 hour.
Total art-making abandon.