the zach girls

A Guide to Stockmar Watercolors

Stockmar Paints Are About as Waldorf-ish As It Gets

But, for many of us who grew up with Crayola and RoseArt as the tools at our disposal, using real art supplies with our young children can be so intimidating. 
“But, they’re kids. It’s a waste of funds.”
“They won’t even appreciate it.”
“That’s so expensive compared to normal art supplies.”

I’m here to tell you that, while those feel like valid concerns, actually it is cost effective while building a respect and reverence for art expression.

Part of what I love the most when it comes to using Stockmar watercolors, is that we take the time to make art a ritual. It gets my 2 year old in on what feels like opening an ancient, magical secret that’s just for her. 

This post is a how-to guide to set up and use Stockmar watercolors (please note that any professional watercolor that requires mixing out of a pan will work for this application, this brand just happens to be my favorite.)

Step One: Prepare the Paper

We’ve tried a few types of paper for watercolor, and this is by far our favorite. It comes in individual sheets, and while the paper is page-for-page more expensive than what you’ll find in the target art supply aisle, we now only go through one page per art session. This may seem crazy considering that before we started this process, my toddler would paint on anywhere from 3-5 pages. But, now we have to do prepwork, so we prepare one page, and I put the rest of the book up. Also, because this is based on free expression, there’s nothing to “complete”. There’s no Daniel Tiger that can be finished, or Paw Patrol character that dictates how their art should be expressed. In fact, many times we’ve left out the page to dry along with all the paints, and my little has returned a few times to add a little more to the original page.

The first step to preparing your page, is to take a pair of scissors and round all four corners. This may feel incredibly superfluous, but for some reason- when we don’t round the edges, my kiddo’s painting doesn’t go even close to the edges and it seems to not have the same flow. This is probably a complete mental thing, but as I’m sure you can tell by now from my posts, I love making things sacred and rituals to create space for creativity, and for us this is a must.
Next, you are going to want to thoroughly wet the page. The type of painting we do with our watercolors is called “wet on wet”. Wet watercolors on a wet page. This makes the colors flow beautifully and not require as much skill in shapping strokes to create a pleasing image. I usually dip each side for about 5-10 seconds and then use my fingers to squeegee the excess water off the page, and lay the page on a dishtowel on the table. You can purchase beautiful watercolor boards from places like Bella Luna Toys or from your local art shops, for us, we go the more simplistic route and try to avoid too many unitasker items in our school kits.

Step Two: Prepare the Paint

Again, you can use beautiful water color dishes, but my favorites are emptied baby food jars, or jars from Oui yogurt. (rather specific, but I love the bell shape for repurposing, plus it tastes like pudding.)

It’s hard to tell from this angle, but I have about 1.5 oz of water in this jar with a small dollop of stockmar watercolor in the water. It’s incredibly concentrated, and I probably will add a tiny bit more- but I can always add more, you can’t take away product after it’s been mixed. 

As far as it goes with colors, this is another way it saves my pocketbook. I only own Yellow, Red, and Blue for stockmar paints, and they create a rainbow of shades for my 2 year old. We don’t need a full pallet, which means our art kit takes up less space, theres virtually nothing for my kids to mix up and ruin, and it teaches kiddos early on about color composition and how to create the color they want on the color spectrum.

Side note, when selecting colors for each art project, I only choose two colors that work well together. I find that too many options cause creative block and cause young children to focus too much on choices in front of them and less on what they want to express. So, for example, some colors we’ve done are

  • Red/Blue
  • Red/Purple
  • Red/Orange
  • Purple/Pink
  • Blue/Green
  • Yellow/Green
  • Yellow/Red
  • Yellow/Orange
This is the opacity I’m looking for when I mix the concentrate with water.

Step Three: Set the Scene

So, from here, your kiddo can go wild! I always put an extra dish with clean water for washing brushes between colors, which is completely optional. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about setting up an art set for yourself and your kiddo and let me know how it goes!

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