As I’ve written here many times before, for me preschool art is about the process of creation with the end result being at best secondary, and in many cases totally irrelevant.
In fact, we produce a lot of art that goes directly into the recycling bin at the end of the day because it was either a group art project and we’re out of wall-space, or because the “finished” work can’t be practically saved, such as a collage project upon which the child has emptied several bottles of white glue. We have the luxury of doing this, in part, because as a cooperative preschool the children’s parents are in the room to observe their child making art so the need to take home a “trophy” at the end of the day is less pressing than it might be a traditional setting.
Last week both the 3-5 and Pre-3 classes had the chance to experiment with the process of drawing with crayons on hot plates, then if they chose they could press a piece of paper on their result to make a print. A parent asked if these were “encaustic paintings.”
My blogging/Facebook friend and Seattle-area artist Kari Young (here are her website , blog) has been working with encaustic paints (a mixture of bees wax, resin and pigment applied to wood boards with a heated iron, torch and brush) for the past couple years so I posed the question to her. Her answer was that they could probably be called “encaustic monoprints,” then asked me to share some of the finished pieces with her.
Now, it is the nature of preschool process art to go through a beautiful phase, but young children rarely stop there, so much of what we wound up with were gray and brown puddles of melted wax, but I told her I’d check our cooling racks to see what we had. And much to my surprise I found some beauties: