How to get Started with Waldorf-Inspired Watercolour Painting

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Wet-on-wet watercolour painting is commonly used in Waldorf preschools, kindergartens and through the early grades. Wet colours are painted onto wet paper so that the colours flow and blend with each other in beautiful and formless ways.

Most children from about 2 1/2 -3 are ready for a two colour combination- red/yellow, red/blue, and yellow/blue create new secondary colours that your child can observe naturally through the experience.

Keep in mind that wet-on-wet watercolour painting allows children to experience the flow and blending of colours without having to think about form. Your finished paintings can be turned into beautiful gift cards, paper lanterns, candle holders or paper chains.

Supplies

  • stockmar watercolor paint
  • brushes
  • painting board (or old cutting board)
  • a jar for each colour (and each child) and another for clean water
  • sponge for each child

Let’s Begin

  1. Submerge watercolour paper in water and let it soak for 5- 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your paper. We use the bathtub for this!
  2. Mix your paint into jars. We use Stockmar watercolour concentrate and put about a teaspoon of paint into the bottom of a small wide-mouthed jar, then add water until the jar is about 2/3 full. Stir until the paint is diluted thoroughly. You can add more paint to enhance the colour or more water to lessen the strength.
  3. Give each child their own jar of each colour so they do not have to reach- this lessens quarrels and spills!
  4. Lay a piece of the wet paper on a painting board (an old chopping board works well) for each child. Lay the paper down so the rough side is up (watercolour paper generally has a rough and smooth side). You can lightly wipe any excess water off of the paper with your sponge if you like.
  5. Place a jar filled with clean water next to the colours- the brush can start in this jar. Place a damp (wet and then squeeze out the water) sponge beside these things.
  6. You’ll need to model this technique at least the first few times (although you might enjoy always doing it with your children- such a beautiful meditative practice). Start with a simple verse such as, ‘Now I take my brush so gently in my hand with loving care, watch the colours go so softly on the paper together they flow.’
  7. When you child is finished it’s best to let the painting dry right where they are so you don’t disturb the colours with your movements. This is why a painting board is so effective.

Meagan Wilson is a parent educator and author of the now-retired seasonal series of Whole Family Rhythms. After finishing a BA, she went on to complete her Foundations in Steiner Education and Anthroposophy at Sydney Steiner College, as well as her Waldorf Early Childhood Certification at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto. She has received her certification as a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach and has supported hundreds of parents to create a strong family rhythm unique to their own values and culture. She has four young children. Meagan provides resources, support and information to parents who are looking for a bridge to cross between their unique family life and their children’s (often but not always) Waldorf schools.

2 Comments

  1. Carie on January 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    We’ve dabbled with wet on wet watercolour but this reminds me that it’s been a while since I got it out – thank you for the nudge to go and find our colours and start painting 🙂

  2. Patty on September 17, 2020 at 3:14 am

    Where do you find the paper with the rounded corners???

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