Process art – an activity where the focus is on the doing, not on what you create in the end.
When we do process art we don’t have any idea what the finished product will be, and in fact we don’t care much about how things look in the end, because the important part is the doing. The important part is seeing what happens as you create.
Process art is important for kids because it allows them to explore, experiment, and discover how things work without any preconceived ideas or expectations holding them back.
It allows kids to go with their feelings and imaginations and to simply create whatever comes to mind, rather than trying to conform to an idea of what something ‘should’ look like.
Process art can be wild, and messy, often the end product is a wet, soggy, brown mess, but process art is also fun and freeing and makes children feel confident and capable.
Process art is also easy.
Because we don’t care what the finished product looks like, there is no right or wrong way to do process art. After offering a few guidelines to keep mess under control and some instruction on how the art materials could be used, adults get to step back and just let it happen, or even better, join in!
On the weekend my boys (aged 4 and 7) and I had a lovely time experimenting with this simple process art set up – water colours and wet paper.
Process Art for kids – Water Colours on Wet Paper .
- Something to cover your work surface, smocks or aprons, a damp cloth to clean up spills
- Paper – we used regular printer paper
- Something to wet your paper – a squirty bottle of water, or a wet sponge.
- Liquid water colours or food dye (watered down a little)
- Containers for your water colours
- droppers, spoons, or small paint brushes
The process for this art activity couldn’t be easier – wet your paper quite a bit, then drop water colours onto the wet paper and watch what happens.
We used plain old printer paper but you could try experimenting with different types of paper. We tried some wet paper towel with interesting results.
We used a squirty bottle filled with water to wet our paper but you could use a wet sponge or even dip the paper into a container of water.
It was fascinating to watch the paint creep across the wet paper, moving and swirling and combining with other colours.
We discovered that the paint acted differently depending on how wet the paper was, and that squirting a little more water onto painted paper made it change all over again.
The end product to this activity was a table full of paper dripping in paint. Some we let dry to see how they would look, but most of them ended up in recycling as this was all about the doing, and not at all about the keeping, and the doing was so cool!
We made a quick little video to show everyone the paint moving and mixing and to remind everyone that art is more than just making something…
Do your kids enjoy the freedom of process art?
What is their favourite way to create?