Painting with children at the beach
Updated: Sep 12
I had promised I would come back and bring painting. And I did it.
My word is my word.
I was looking forward to organise orher workshops after my stay in São Vicente.
In Mindelo I bought tempera painting and paintbrushes. I still had colour pencils that I had left in Tarrafal.
So my first day back in São Nicolau, I told the children that I would be there the next day, in the shadow of a building.
Before that workshop, and the following ones, I transferred some paint in small 25cl bottle. In my experience children tend to use less paint when it comes from a smaller bottle. I wanted it to last. This seemed a good way to do it.
The first time I went back I bought big A0 white paper. I brought plastic plates, and poured each colour on it, downsizing even more the amount of paint. They quickly understood it was better to spare the painting. It was a bit of a discussion to convince them to share the pages though. Some did it spontaneously, other wanted just a page for them.
Fair enough, I thought and I organised the workshop so that everyone could paint. Luckily I managed to have everyone painting.
In the beginning they all were focused on the painting, but after a while they got quite excited and started splashing painting on each other. I just saw their hands full of paint slamming each others body. It was quite stressful.
They laughed at me and eventually stopped.
I was wondering if they would come back after my shouts. The answer came quite quickly. The next day as I arrived at the beach they all were there asking whether we would paint again.
A friend had also given me the good idea to ask for cardboards at the Sucla cannery. Their answer was positive.
The eyes of the children shone as they saw the much bigger surfaces to be painted. It was quite remarkable that the children stayed focused all the time. It looked to me that the cardboard with its large size became for each his of her territory. Some would share it, others not, but the atmosphere was more relaxed, and didn't end in a paint fight.
We started taking picture of the artist(s) and his/her/their artwork.
It was obvious they were all very proud to show their work.
I came various time, and every time something new happened.
Adults came by to paint with their child, proudly posing with the painting afterwards.
The crowd grew, every time more relaxed with the fishermen sitting to rest, everyone chatting around.
Talking about fishermen. Fishing boats with the Ocean and surrounding mountains was one of the preferred theme, as were the heart. It was quite remarkable to see how the children painted the boats out of memory. Searching solution to trace a straight line, asking me for colour advise. The iconography of the mountains as triangles was recurrent, and the composition quite similar.
Each boat was different though.
I was pleased to see that the focus grew with each session. It became obvious when I didn't find cardboard and brought the A0 paper again. This time there was no fight anymore. Painting had brought them inner peace. They could find their marks in a reduced symbolical space.
I also saw how bringing bigger paintbrushes widened their space too.
This reminded me how each type of paper or paintbrush creates a different dynamics.
And the last day I experienced again the strength of creativity. I didn't have paint anymore and brought glue instead. The idea was to use natural material to create the artwork. They quickly got the trick and found nice ways to make an artwork. They also exchanged ideas on how to do it.
I am amazed what wonderful dynamics emerges of just bringing to the children and eldest paint, brushes, pencils, paper, cardboard,cookies, fruit juice…
Some would think I am giving them a lot.
In reality they give me much more that I do. Seeing their joy and their creativity grow everyday is a lovely gift.
And also it is not about the material I give, it is my time and sincere attention to each of the participants that counts.
These workshop fill my heart with love and gratitude.
Watch this video and you will sense what I mean.
It was for me just magic. These children literally stole my heart!