What You’ll Need

Jars to hold the paint
Painting Boards
Paint Brushes
Water Jars
Sponge or Cloth
Painting Smock or Apron

The Details

~ Jars to hold the paint~

Little, little baby juice jars to hold the paint

~Painting Boards~

These boards were cut from a single sheet of plywood some fourteen years ago. They measure 15×20 inches and have rounded edges. They have been soaked with water and paint and not warped.

We brushed them with organic linseed oil after they were cut. They took a good week to dry  and gave off a strong smell while drying and for a while after. They could be rubbed with a lovely beeswax polish instead. My guess is the linseed oil really penetrated the wood and has kept them from warping.

~Paint Brushes~

A large flat brush for yourself and one for each child. Look for the one inch flat brush about 8 or 9 inches long. A good paintbrush is a very worthy investment and if not left to soak in water, will last for 15 plus years. My brushes, above, have soaked in water and lost all their enamel paint which I removed as soon as it began to chip off. They are at least fourteen  years old. You can find  brushes here.

~ Paint~

Paint: Stockmar paints are used with wet on wet painting because they are so beautiful and true and will make secondary colors with mixing. The colors you see below are :

Gold Yellow
Carmine Red*

also good are:

Prussian Blue
Lemon Yellow*

* is best for mixing to obtain other colors

Another excellent (and likely to be available locally) source of water color paint is the Windsor & Newton Cotman Series. They come in little tubes:

Cadmium Red
Cadmium Yellow

I like to add Rose Madder at Valentine’s, Cobalt blue is also good substitute for Ultramarine and has a different feeling.

Three colors of paint (unless you want the Rose Madder) to create all sorts of color. You and the children will experience  color arising when ” bold red has a dance with mellow blue ” or “sassy yellow comes out to play with shy blue and they dance in the golden light on the sea.” Sometimes a “green meadow” or a “green flash” on the horizon emerges on the paper from the interplay of the colors. What wonder!

~ Nourishing Wonder ~

When we are painting, I focus on drawing the paint across the page, with long fluid strokes. I wait for the children to experience what happens when two colors overlap and “dance together.” The discovery of the third color is magical for the child. wisdom is born in wonder, with color too!

I refrain from describing the arising of a third color as well, so that the children have the magical experience of discovering the wondrous emergence of a third color out of the interplay of the two colors on paper.

~Water Jars~

I was taught to use a large clear water glass so the child can have the experience of changing color in the water. This has proven to be an experience of wonder in itself. With wee littles I use a small mason jar, as pictured above. With grade school children I use a large mason jar.


Paper, the better the paper the better the results. When we paint on painting day, we use one sheet of paper each and really take our time with it. This size sheet is large for a small child and takes time to cover with paint. I like this Strathmore 400 Series 140 lb. cold press Watercolor paper, it is 11 x 15 inches and of good substance. This is a baseline for quality watercolor paper. Heavier weights will provide a better surface.

Round off the edges and cut off the tabs where it was attached to the spiral binder.

~ Sponge or Cloth ~

You need a little sponge, this is a big one cut up

or some clothes ~ this is an old bed sheet

~Smocks ~

old button down shirts or painting aprons for all
And now on to the painting, a tutorial -> here.

Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie is the Editor and Publisher of The Wonder of Childhood and has spent the past fifteen years with one of her own children in early childhood (under seven years of age.)  She worked with children and their families for the past twenty two years, initially as a homebirth midwife. Lisa’s home based program The Children’s Garden began twelve years ago on a remote tropical island in the Pacific Ocean. Lisa’s current focus is on supporting parents of very young children and exploring the needs of boys in relationship to the Waldorf curriculum and ways of implementing support for those needs within the Waldorf curriculum. She lives with her family in Vermont. Lisa blogs at Celebrate the Rhythm of Life, offers an online program to support parents, teachers and childcare providers with daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal rhythm called Celebrate the Rhythm of Life through the Year, and she hosts a free and open online discussion group for parents, teachers and childcare providers of young children here.


2 Responses to Wet on Wet Watercolor Painting Set Up

  1. Brand says:

    Thanks for sharing the colors that mix best. I found that out through trial and error, though I do like the other colors on their own.

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