It's been a long time since we last had to purchase powdered tempera paint. For the past several years we've been feeding off a the dozens of jars of the stuff donated by an artist who was clearing out his basement, but last year, down to mostly brown and black, we finally finished them off in a frenzy of mixing it up into a thick pasty, mud-like substance and applying it with masonry tools to a large piece of cardboard.
It's about 5'X3' and I still have it around. Maybe it should go up at Diva as well.
And while making "thick paint" is the main reason we like keeping powdered tempera around, the other is for making floating powder paintings.
We set our three pans of shallow water (I use the plastic drawers from a storage unit) and fill spice shakers with the tempera powder. The idea is for the kids to shake the powder onto the water, which will initially float on the surface, only sinking once it's completely saturated.
The idea then is to float a piece of paper on top of the water and let it soak for a bit. I don't know if was the brand of the new paint we purchased or if we'd just grown accustomed to using ancient powder that had somehow become transformed with age in to something more absorbent, more easily dissolved. Or perhaps our old stuff was just of a much higher quality given that it had once belonged to a professional artist, but whatever the case, the kids had to let their paper float longer than in years past to achieve their results.
This period of waiting, naturally, lead to many of the children try shaking yet more powder onto the backsides of their papers as they floated.
The results were less swirly and marbled than in past years, but I kind of like chunky landscaped textures created by the tablets of undissolved powder that got trapped in their own crust on the paper. I suspect that if families hang these on their walls, they will enjoy many months of these mini time bombs releasing their powder onto walls and carpets when subjected to random breezes and bumps.
If you click on the individual photos, you'll see detail.