Thursday, 23 June 2011

Painting without influence

I recently watched a clip of Aelita Andre, 4 year old Melbourne based artist. I absolutely loved the footage at the end of Aelita brushing and dribbling paint onto her canvasses. She looked so focused. I was also inspired by the statement her mother made "I am scared to influence her". Wow! My painting experiments with Cakey have been very controlled – "choose 3 paints, here are the brushes, now paint ON THE PAPER". These sessions generally leave us both frustrated. So I thought I would take a deep breath and lighten up.

I gave Cakey six whole tubes of primary colours, a handful of different size brushes, a few different things to paint on (black and white card, small canvas, paper etc) and a bunch of plastic lids and containers to mix paint on and then told her to go for it. I had to bite my tongue not 'to influence'. She was busy painting black paint onto black cardboard and I was itching to point out that wouldn't work when she picked up the cardboard, flipped it over and pressed it onto white paper, producing a lovely texture. One hour later, she had produced 9 paintings, had used all the paint and was beaming. The whole experience was well worth the effort and I plan to do it again.


  1. Fantastic! I definitely influence (control) too much and didn't actually realize I was. I will definitely try this too.

  2. if you want to expand the process of the black paint activity you can put bobs of paint on a tray (with a lip) and let cakey mix up the colours. This is a process in itself that this age enjoys. It explores colour mixing and understanding shades of colour. At anytime during the process she can lay a sheet of paper of card over the top of the fingerpaint and see the resulting effect.


  3. What a great story and experience for you and Cakey. I remember being
    given a few paints and being instructed how to "do it" as a kid. It
    was great fun and I loved it, but....being given so many and the ability to run free, how great is that. A lovely reminder Ali of how
    our kids learn through creativity, develop their own style and have
    brilliant ideas when given a few tools to explore with.


  4. It is always free-range with paints at our place. My kids love mixing colours and slapping things together. I wouldn't call them 'artists' (in the job-role sense) but they sure are creative.

    I couldn't get the link for the 4 year old artist but I must say I am a little skeptical!

    Thanks for joining the Weekend Rewind. Lovely to have you on board Ali x

  5. thanks MM, it has taken me heaps of practice to let it go free-range, now that I have loosened up it is so much more fun for both of us... but a lot more cleaning!

  6. I love those moments in mothering when we manage to hold back and trust our child and then we get this great insight into what they were thinking. I am working on msking painting something we do more often, my four year old in particular loves it.