White on black

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This is some painting Maia and her friend Marlise did earlier this week. When Marlise is over I usually have a low-key project set up for when they seem to need a break from just playing with each other. This week I set out two sheets of black poster board, a cup of white paint, and a couple of brushes. 

Maia drew a bunch of white dots on her paper, then connected them, first saying she was doing a dot-to-dot then saying she was making constellations.


They both added some googly eyes and silver sequins.


Marlise was inspired to try dots as well. I loved seeing what they did with the white paint on black paper. We haven’t tried any paper other than white before this. Poster board comes in all different colors, as does construction paper, of course. I’m looking forward to trying some new colors.

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  1. says

    I’ve been wanting to try this exact same thing and I really like your inclusion of the googly eyes and sequins.
    I’ve been wondering how kids would react to working with one color as Susan Striker suggests. Would they revolt if I handed a class just red? Or just white on black? But so nice to focus and get to experience a color combination or a singular color.
    We’ve been doing a lot of limited color palettes (two colors) at home and that works well so I can’t wait to try this!

  2. says

    We did something like this at one of our art groups. It was inspired by Julie Liddle’s Art in Hand classes — we read a book about night (House in the Night by Susan Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes) and then the kids worked with white, yellow, light blue colored pencils on black construction paper. Then they used some silver liquid watercolor and white tempera on top of that. I wish I had some pictures but the art group was always so busy (10-12 kids each time) I didn’t really have time to take many!

  3. says

    I too love the idea of a single colour on a contrast colour paper. Recently I gave Pari a lemon yellow on a blue paper and gave a hint to try something underwater. She came up with star fishes and squids and jelly fish and they looked fabulous on blue. It’s a different matter though that – later on, she was tempted to go back to that painting with more colours to add and infact even paste some actual leaves to show sea plants..!
    I plan to do a blog post with that. May be I can come back and add the link here….

  4. says

    Hi, I’ve been enjoying your blog for awhile now…from Ethiopia! I’m a former art teacher and now I’m loving being creative with my two toddler girls. We can’t get many good supplies here, so I have to be REALLY creative. :)
    Just wanted you to know that your blog encourages me!

  5. Barbara Zaborowski says

    I’ve done white (offering chalk and crayons) on black and black (markers and charcoal) on white with my class of four-year-olds and they enjoyed it. No one was upset with the limited palette because this was just one option. They had (like always) the option of doing their own projects at the other table and all our paint is out and available every day.

  6. says

    Oooh I was just looking through an art supply catalogue and saw the black paper. White on black always looks so effective. I can’t wait to see all your new coloured board creations. Lots of fun ahead for Maia!

  7. says

    In addition to House in the Night, Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes is a great book for inspiring white on black, and black on white art. I usually set up one table with white paper and black media (paints, crayons, markers and collage items) and a 2nd table with black paper and white media. The results are always very cool. Thanks, Molly, for the reference!