N has been in a particularly creative mood these past few days, as she has been sick and mildly feverish. she does some of her best imagining in that somewhat warm-brained altered state. today i found a stash of old construction paper wedged between some files, and N and i decided to break out the acrylics and make some paintblots.

i suppose this is similar to rorschach’s inkblot test – or at least the images look that way. i┬ájust want to note here, for the record, that rorschach’s name was in no way mentioned in my three years of graduate level art therapy training, so i wasn’t doing this as an art assessment whatsoever. just playing with paint and paper and N’s imagination!

she had lots of fun choosing paper and paint colors and squeezing the paint onto the paper.

then folding, patting, pushing, squishing the paint around in between the fold.

and opening the papers back up to reveal the surprise of a design! “i love not knowing what it will look like!” she said, as she opened fold after fold.

she did some simple ones using one color.

"blue butterfly"

N also explored using several colors with two different techniques: 1) all at once and then fold and 2) folding between each color.

"an angel with a big heart"

they revealed some really amazing images, and i loved hearing about what they each looked like to N.

in her words, (L to R, top to bottom) they are:

  1. fire breaking into a nest of yellow eggs
  2. janice (from electric mayhem) with big colorful eyes and big lips
  3. an angel with a big heart
  4. a fox face
  5. two bunnies giving each other eggs
  6. a baby
  7. a butterfly
  8. the ocean
  9. ribs or bones (looks like hip bones to me!)
  10. a turkey about to clap
  11. blue butterfly
  12. someone saying “mmmmm”

this is an easy and fabulously fun way to spark creativity! while paint is wet, you can add sequins or glitter. and after the paintblots are dry, it would be fun to embellish the images or scene with crayons or markers. these would make excellent t-shirts! maybe next time we’ll do this with fabric paints…

what would you do with a series of paintblots?


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  • I love these! Next post: show how you added to them with crayons or markers.

  • Super cool designs! Karen

  • Beautiful, Jen and N! I love how she embraced the element of surprise with this project. And her interpretations will be fun to look back on in the years to come.

  • Hello symmetry lesson! Love this, and I think it would be fun even with high school kids. And while I know that process is king, I think the end results are pretty darn cool too. Thanks for the captions, your daughter has a great imagination!

  • I love it! My six year old has a hard time drawing non realistically making her give up often. I think this would help her see the value of art in a non realistic way. I am excited to do it with my kids soon. I loved your daughters interpretations of the images. The angel with a heart is so cute! Thanks for sharing.

  • I love the descriptions! What a wonderful glimpse of language and imaginative development in a snapshot of childhood. Thanks for linking up to It’s Playtime!

  • have you seen the book Inkblots? reminds me of this activity – just got it but haven’t read it yet.

  • I love the way she titled the art. Very creative, simple project (although it may not be messy enough for my little M. . .we will soon find out!)

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  • Thank you for sharing this highly creative and imaginative stimulating activity with us! So lovely to see that your child indicates also animals in her paintings. Great that you linked up to the ‘Children&animals at play’ Bloghop.

    Lovely greetings, Angelique & the WAD organisation

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