I love our CTC group on FB it really gets my blogging juices flowing.
Now as a Missionary Mama living "simply" I understand tight budgets Which is why I don't use the really expensive watercolor paper, I can still have my kids paint big without a crippling cost. Please don't get me wrong I'm not being critical of you if you paint small. This post is more about me working out why I want shout from the mountain tops "Paint BIG!" I'm not saying "feel bad" if you paint small, I'm just sharing why we don't paint small. This is my personal journal and I just let you read it. :-)
So here is my personal opinion as to why children should paint Big.
First of all children have a tendency to paint and draw small. If you give a child a regular sheet of paper they typically don't fill the entire page. They tend to stick their image smack dab in the middle and leave lots of space around it. When you look at many fine artists they fill the whole canvas/paper, even if only with doodles.
When you take a large piece of watercolor paper and place it in front of a child, it is a bit daunting. They think I have to fill whole big piece of paper! Yet the project usually starts out by painting a whole entire background. Painting large involves a mix of large and fine motor skills. The child must make decisions, when do I start changing colors? How much pressure am I putting on my brush? They see short strokes don't look at all like long even strokes. If a child has a 11x14 paper making long even strokes takes concentration and some finesse. A 5x7 sheet of paper doesn't have these challenges, nor do large motor skills come into play on suchs a small surface.
I'm not against cutting down a 18 x 24 ---> 9 x 12 (to conserve resources) but let me challenge you to think outside the box for a minute. If you have good watercolor paper the front will not bleed through to the back. Yes the back is not as rough but I would rather my children painted both sides of a sheet of decent sheet of watercolor paper then paint small. Why I'm wondering in my mind why am I obsessed with painting big. I'm really really happy you are painting even if it is on 5 x 7 pieces of paper. Painting big resonates deep within my soul if I could I would shout from the mountain tops "Paint Big."
I have one child that enjoys these painting but she hates to draw. She has fine motor control issues. When she has to draw in the tiny boxes in the notebooks, it frustrates her. She tires easily. Yet she likes to paint, because painting on a large surface uses a mix of muscle groups and I think tho I'm not sure a larger portion of her brain. I know art is a emotional centered activity, but fine detail work is a logic centered activity. For me painting big means opening up and touching the emotions in art. Letting our feelings out on paper. I have kids with Trauma in their background, getting them to express feelings on paper through art or writing is sooooooo good for them. Making sure painting is NOT a Fine Motor Skill ONLY project for her smoothed the way for success. There are plenty of her paintings that did not make the blog. This is because I did not have her permission to put them up. Altho plenty did make the blog, those she was happy and satisfied with. This created a cycle of success. That success builds her interior life of self worth, not self esteem but rather how God sees us as wonderfully and beautifully made people.
Art is Art if you the artist likes it in the end, that is all that really matters.
Now how often do our children not like their projects especially the age CTC covers. They are of an age where they can see in their minds eye what they want, but execution may be much harder to achieve. If you give them a tiny piece of paper to work on and they make mistakes you will hear "It's ruined." Lets face it, on small paper, a drop of paint can be very hard to "repair or recreate" (fix it by turning it into something else), yet on a big piece of paper you have the real estate to fix it.
Part of me says when we give our children the "standard" 8 x 11 or smaller paper we are creating a mind set of normal = small. If I was given a half size piece of paper I would think this is small and not as important. They already lean toward drawing and painting small. Small paper for me says the child will think small, inside the small box not big as in "The sky is the limit." mentality. Great artists paint big... ok I know great artist also paint on the heads of pins, but you have to admit painting on a tiny head of a pin is huge idea. Big paper forces a child to think larger and big thinkers turn into visionaries and leaders.
For me this is more than large/fine motor skill issue, its is paradigm shift in their brain. Creativity should think big, and in our house that means you get the biggest paper mom can afford. I want them to have goals and aspirations in life and I want my children to paint life on as big of a canvas as God has given them. I don't think I could ever hand my kids a 5 x 7 piece of paper to paint on. It goes against this deep philosophical place in my heart that is linked to dreams, goals, and aspirations.
Part of me likes that these paintings do not fit well within our binders and notebooks because great ideas often don't fit. Fred Smith the Fedex guy was told his idea was not realistic, but who do we use when it must be there overnight? Tho if all I had was a few pieces of paper I'd rather use both sides of the paper or do fewer paintings, than cut them down, because for me that paper represents far more than an art project, it represents a mindset for life.