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June 23, 2008



We haven't painted in an awfully long time, because I was super frustrated by the process. I think our paper was too wet, first of all! But also, my child only wants to smear the two colors together (for example, and entire page of orange, rather than some yellow, some red, some orange). How can I encourage her not to be so hasty in smearing it all into one color?!


I wouldn't worry about it too much - it's pretty usual for a kindergarten age child to do this (for those of you wondering how I know the age of Grace's daughter..... I asked her!).

Carry on with little stories and images when you paint - try a beautiful rainbow which stretches across the page - you'll need all three colors then - and to get a rainbow your child will have to allow the colors to stand alone or just blend with their neighbors and not make mud.

And if she persists in making mud? Never mind.... it will pass. She might be picking up on your anxiety about this and doing it to experiment with your feelings.... again, very normal.

Just you keep painting where she can see what you do and let your colors play and remain distinct as well as blend.

She'll get there in the end!

Charity Pitton

I've done it the "wrong" way with my two boys (ages nearly-5 and six now)for a year or so - we all three begin painting at the same time. I can see how giving them the example to imitate *before* they paint would have been very helpful and prevented some of the issues we've had. I probably won't try to change that now, but I might add a bit to the "pre-painting reverence" routine that might help maintain the mood for two rambunctious boys. :-)

We've had weeks of mud, too! Also weeks in which one of them will paint so hard that they rub paper crumbs off. It somehow passes...


Hi Charity,

You could paint your picture while you tell them the story, with one boy on either side of you, watching as you paint (and no painting supplies out except what you are using). Then set aside your picture, help them get their paper on their boards etc - and you as well - and then you can sort of quietly and meditatively retell the story that you just told whilst painting the same picture again..... and with the first painting sitting there for them to look at. This could help inspire them and form their paintings and help center them as well.

Try not to think of it in terms of "having done it wrong" - rather, think of it terms of did it one way and am now looking for a better way! If we poor parents are always thinking of all we do wrong, we'd never get out of bed in the morning!

Zaina Keeley

Do you have any suggestions of what to do during the time of letting a portion dry, so that the mood is not broken?
Also, how much water do you use to mix with the Stockmar paints?


Hi Zaina,

What do you mean "let a portion dry"? If you are painting with children under 9, one wouldn't want to paint parts of a picture, one would want to paint the whole picture in one go. Perhaps I am not sure what you mean?

I would squeeze a finger-nail sized "worm" of paint into the jar and just barely cover it with water. Do not stir - enough pigment will get into the water for painting and if one wants really dark, strong color, one can touch the brush to the "worm."

Zaina Keeley

Thank you for your response. I think our paints were too watery for a long time, so they dried very light and hazy. Above, I was referring to your tip of letting the background dry when working with a little more form. We will be doing third grade in the fall, but at the end of last year we started some very basic forms and they all morphed into non shapes as they dried.


Hi Zaina,

So sorry I never got back to you!

You're right - letting the painting dry a bit before trying to create forms could definitely break the mood..... It is one of those compromises one might need to make when trying to create a certain kind of picture. Perhaps one could focus mainly on the mood with the general color and then just rather matter-of-factly return to paint the figures. Then, at other times, one would only create the more flowing color paintings without disrupting the mood. In this way one could find some balance between the different approaches.

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