We brought out the paintbrushes and watercolor paints. Each table had a stack of white paper. I turned on the music. Painting flowed in time with the beat.
This is dancing with a paintbrush. When the music stops, we title the piece of art and list three words that come to mind. This continues for three rounds. The songs are all instrumental, one sounds oriental, another symphonic, and another Irish.
Following this painting activity, we write.
Freedom of expression, playing with words, making associations with music and poetry, the resulting poems went in all kinds of directions. (My students share their poems on Kidblog.)
In reading Tara Smith’s book review of Writing with Mentors, I pulled out this piece of advice: “Mentors Show Students How to Play: In order to grow as writers, students need safe places to play with writing – places that aren’t assessed or evaluated or given a grade. They need places where their work can be messy, where thinking outside the box and being wild with ideas is encouraged.”
When I was struggling to write a poem with my painting, I turned to a favorite author, Mary Oliver. From A Thousand Mornings, “Poem of the One World” begins “This morning/ the beautiful white heron/ was floating along above the water.”
Writing beside this master poet helped me to follow the rhythm that my own words wanted to take.
the beautiful white egret
wanders from known to unknown waters
onto the shore of this
one stream we all swim in
is part of the blue vein
where we can throw a stone in
which thought made me feel
for a small moment
–Margaret Simon, after Mary Oliver