Smash Painting

Try a new technique that kids and adults both have fun with – it’s called “smash painting.” Smash painting releases lots of energy and let’s active children have fun making dots of splashing color. When you use a completely washable paint like Liquid Watercolor™, there’s no worry about making a mess.

Smash PaintingHow to begin? First get yourself some sponge tip plastic bottles (called bingo bottles) and a variety of liquid watercolors. Fill each bottle with a different color. You’ll need white construction paper, and if you want to make a portrait like the one pictured here, you’ll need markers for the details in the portrait itself. Smash painting is used for the background in the example shown.

Next, practice smash painting and develop some skill with it by experimenting on a piece of scratch paper. Simply turn your bingo bottle upside down and bang it lightly onto your paper, creating a dot with splash marks coming out from the sides. Try banging the bingo bottle lightly, then harder, and watch how your result changes. Switch colors and overlap splash marks, creating a pattern. Now try making lines and shapes with your bingo bottle and experiment with different effects you can achieve by simply dragging your bingo bottle slowly across the page. Once you’ve practiced and gotten a feel for your materials, you’re ready for your final picture.

The picture or portrait shown here combines watercolor markers in the more controlled figure drawing, with smash painting in the background. The contrast of these two techniques makes an interesting self portrait. To create a portrait like this, first present your class with markers and have them create a central drawing of their choice – in this case, a portrait of themselves. Then demonstrate the smash painting technique and suggest they use this technique for their background. First spend practice time with smash painting. The have children return to their self portrait and smash painting the background. The painting shown here was done with a group of first grade students during one 45 minute art session.

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