Pictured Rock Inspired Paintings

We live approximately 45 minutes away from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We have lived here for 9 years, and it has taken us nine years to venture to this natural beauty nearly in our backyard. I don't anticipate that it will take that long for us to journey back. While on vacation, we learned that the beautiful colors that make the pictures on the rocks come from ground water that is filled with various minerals. When the water runs over the rocks, it colors them in a variety of colors contingent upon which minerals it contains. The rocks themselves have very little color to them.

Although the children in our care have not all been to the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore, we talked a lot about our vacation and shared photos with them. (I do think a field trip may be in order for some of our older children, as they were quite facinated by the photographs). We decided to try our own luck with running colors down paper to make our own beautiful paintings.

We used a mixture of tempera paint and water. I think the mix was about half and half. You need to make sure that the paint will run. Instead of paint brushes, we opted for pipettes. You could use paint brushes, but the children LOVE to use the pipettes. (They are great for helping to develop fine motor skills too!)

You could easily do this on an easel, but you would need to make sure that the children are tall enough to reach the top of the paper. We opted to use a step stool and a chair. We covered the seat of the chair with extra paper to help catch all of the dripping paint, and the step stool enabled the children to stand up above the paper they were dripping the water/paint onto.

There were lots of decisions to make in terms of colors and technique. Some children made lines of paint by squeezing the pipette as they moved it across the top of the page. Others opted to keep the pipette in one spot and send the paint running down the page. Whatever technique or mix thereof, they sure had fun experimenting....

I will be the first person to remind you that art is about the process, and not the product, but the product of this experiment in running colors down the page sure produces amazing products!!!

This post was linked up at:
PreK + K Sharing


Deborah said…
That is beautiful! I am inspired!
Scott said…
This is great! I can't wait to use this idea with my kids.
Play said…
COOL! I love it!
StarMan said…
Great work Amy.., and kids. Their is a lot of geology there too...,if you can read it. I too have thought of art when kayaking this beautiful natural wonder. Everytime I go I see something different..,in fact I do see changes over time..,the "sail" is no longer there, for example.
Thank you for the inspiration! Today we did something similar at our art table.


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