How do I create an environment that supports safe access to liquid tempera paint? The whole point is to get out of the way so my students can get on with the business at hand– discovering the joy of this rich and varied medium and making expressive artwork. Painting is popular medium in my K-6 classroom and each year I reflect on what has been working and what needs tweaking. This is how I store the paint jars. These trays, with solo cups and lids, are my innovation of 2015.
Here are some other supplies in our painting center–brushes, sponges, mixing trays, and cake tempera sets.
Our easels are popular painting stations from kindergarten right through grade six. Generally I ask students to stand at the easel to work. Notice the mobile cart “taboret” in between the two easels. The one on the right my dad made for me when I was little. The one on the left was a roadside find.
Here are the paint trays in the morning before I uncap them. I cap and stack them at the end of the day and hide the paint caps in between. They last a lot longer that way!
Now the paint is uncapped and ready for my first class of the day. I usually also put the white art paper on the easel in between classes. Anything I can do to smooth the way is more time for children to work. Time is our most precious resource.
My dad’s easel was designed with eight wells for paint cups on both sides, so we use them. Again, I cap and uncap the paint. When a paint cup gets dirty because someone hasn’t rinsed the brush, we use a wooden stick to stir it and discover the new color. That’s how we got the pumpkin orange between primary yellow and orange.
Here are some recent paintings from the hands of Lincoln School artists.
Robin Brooks, 2015