I was so inspired by Dily-Dali’s amazing Melted Crayons post yesterday, that I decided to suggest to Aodhan that we give encaustic painting another go. Back in the chillier months of January, we experimented with using wax in our art, and Aodhan was tickled by the results. He still carries around his ‘pink elephant’ painting and talks about it quite regularly. I wanted to do something a little different though, as Aodhan has never really been keen on finger painting. I decided to use a single flame to warm each crayon that could then be used for ‘painting’ onto the canvas.
I know, dear readers, that the idea of a preschooler and flames isn’t really socially acceptable. But, like with most things not socially acceptable, I am bucking this system. Because we don’t spend every waking moment giving Aodhan boundaries and (unnecessarily) putting limits on his behaviour, he truly listens when we explain to him that something is dangerous or out of bounds. Seriously. That’s why I felt totally ok with introducing a flame into this morning’s art experience.
Before we got started, I explained to my boy that flames are very dangerous and they are to be respected and never, ever, ever played with on his own. He got it.
We used only crayons that were of the Crayola persuasion. We noticed with our last crayon melting, that Crayola crayons were the only ones that seemed to melt effectively for art endeavors. Also, make sure you only use crayons that have their paper removed – you don’t want a mini fire on your hands.
I showed Aodhan how to heat the crayon, but then allowed him to explore this experience on his own. There was truly a science element in this for him – watching the heat change the conditions of the crayon, turning it from a solid to a liquid. It was magic! He really got into using the wax on the canvas and experimented with all of the colours and started to delight in pouring off the excess wax that would drip down into the candle (this extra wax was killing our flame).
I wanted to add another element to the wax and brought out a cheap dollar store pack of water colours and let him paint over the dried wax. Lovely!
I am really pleased to see Aodhan himself privileging process over the end product. He really appreciates his art for what he did, rather than any final ‘image’.
A huge thanks to Dily-Dali Art for today’s inspiration. Check out this stunning and creative blog – you won’t regret it! Here are some more links that focus on encaustic painting with kids: