Art! Wax resist painting revisited…

posted in: Patrick McDonnell | 9

[Boring admin: I’ve been having lots of computer problems the last few days and I fear our computer may be on its last legs – please bear with me if there is a delay in posting this coming week!]

art9As you know by now, here at Playing by the book we love creating art and we love reading books, so ART by Patrick McDonnell is naturally enough a book that’s right up our street.

ART is a short and sweet story told in rhyme about a boy called Art who loves… well… creating art. His enthusiasm for art leaps off the pages of the book – filled with his simple but vibrant creations, zigs and zags, dots and doodles. Art’s love of art is only matched by his mother’s love of her son’s creations – the book ends endearingly with this observation (the capitalization is as in the book)



Well, such a sentiment goes right to my heart and of course wins me over; Our refrigerator too is covered in artwork and it makes me so happy that this is the case!


The simple illustrations appeal to M and J – they are bold and bright, suggestive rather than prescriptive and full of fun. Althought the little boy Art does end up creating a beautiful picture, it is clear that he has enormous fun in the process, not just with the final product. The rhyming text makes this a pleasure to read (and to listen to) and has inspired me to reserve more books by the same author/illustrator (best known for his comic strip Mutts) from the library. And of course, this lovely little book has also stimulated lots of artistry round our kitchen table.

I wanted to try something new with the girls, so I headed on over to one of my favourite blogs, The Artful Parent, and picked a recent activity which involves watercolours and wax crayons. M and J both really enjoy painting with watercolours, and after the lack of excitement when we recently tried wax resist painting I thought this might be more up their street.

I prepared the ground by grating a load of different coloured wax crayons.


M and J then sprinkled the gratings on watercolour paper. I put greaseproof paper over the sprinklings and ironed them at a low setting.


The sprinklings melted and cooled quickly, and then the girls painted over the melted crayons with watercolour paints.


Final details were added with the watercolour pencils we have (and which I definitely recommend – both girls love using them).



The results are really very beautiful (even if I say so myself as a proud mama!) and the girls LOVED doing this activity – J loved sprinkling the craying shavings in particular, whilst M loved the vibrant colours. Definitely a much more successful version of wax resist painting!




art_frontcoverART: 2star… or maybe I’m being stingy, and it ought to be 3star

Some art inspired music we’ve been listening to includes The Art Project by Margie, That’s my Art by Vince Junior and (well we had to include something by this singer-songwriter…) The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by Art Garfunkel

For a great tutorial on creating magnets that could hold up the artwork of your loved ones on your own refridgerator try this lovely one at Silly Eagle Books

9 Responses

  1. S A

    Melting the crayon shavings onto paper is a great idea ! When teaching wax resist, there is usually one or two children that want to “scrub” the crayon lines off of the paper with their brushes and watercolors…the melting takes care of that problem ! Pictures are beautiful

    • Zoe

      Thanks S A for commenting. Yes the melting is a lot of fun. Requires attention because of the hot iron, but the kids love the results (and so do I!)

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  3. Best Links of the Week | ecBloom

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