Is it art if you don’t know you’re doing it?

15 09 2008

Seth did some watercolor painting on coffee filters at preschool recently. I’ve seen this done before and have been meaning to do it and mentioned such to his teacher. She promptly handed me a stack of coffee filters to play with at home. A few days later we gave it a go. Eleanor included.

There are a few different types of watercolors. At school they had used basic watercolor pans. The little pats that you pick up the color with a wet brush. This is the coffee filter in the top left of the above picture. As you can tell Seth has been enjoying the use of black in his paintings as of late. The other two were done using our homemade liquid watercolors. They have a much more pastel subtle quality to them.

This project is a bit of a stretch for me. I realize that it needs to be about the process and not the product. But really, what am I going to do with a half a dozen painted coffee filters? We should make these butterflies but then what am I going to do with them? I’m entirely to lazy to hang them up. Maybe the kids would enjoy running around with them. Heaven knows Seth enjoys prettending to be a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis.

OK, back on track. Once we ran out of coffee filters Seth moved on to paper towel. The fun part of both the filters and the paper towel is how the watercolor bleeds so nicely and differently than on paper. And when I say bleed, they really do bleed – right through the paper. At school they placed a paper plate behind the coffee filter to absorb the excess. Since we were doing both round filters and square paper towel I just used a piece of actual watercolor paper taped to the table. One per child.

I realized when I was cleaning up the lovely pictures that resulted underneath the filters and paper towels. In my annoying round about fashion, this leads me to my question: Is it art if you don’t know you’re doing it?

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One response

16 09 2008
painted fish studio

yes!

i think the act of creating results in art, whether the end product was intentionally created/planned, or just a happy accident. now, it’s it great art? that’s another question. but yes, it is art if you don’t know you’re doing it!

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