White on black


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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  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 8:55 am

    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!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 9:16 am

    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!

  • Reply
    butterfly wishes and wonderland dreams
    July 23, 2010 at 9:28 am

    every new preschool at home year we do the color sequence from young at art. Blue on Orange and Orange on Blue is really cool.
    plus it has made a awesome homemade book to look through at the stages of art the same time every year.

  • Reply
    butterfly wishes and wonderland dreams
    July 23, 2010 at 9:29 am

    forgot to meantion i did a post about rotating art you might be interested in: http://lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com/2010/07/rotating-art-watercolor-paint.html
    it will be a weekly feature for my art linky mommy’s little artist.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    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….

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    Early Childcare Resources
    July 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I always do this activity in the classroom every few months.
    However, I use black construction paper and white chalk and call it the same thing!
    “White on Black”

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Thanks for giving me something to do with my ever-whiney kids after naptime. It really helped soothe and calm them. Thanks to you, we transitioned right into dinnertime and Family Movie Night without a hitch. I thought I would share: http://cowsgomooandducksgoquack.blogspot.com/2010/07/white-on-black.html

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    BTW, have you ever tried Geometric art with your little ones? SO MUCH FUN! AND SO MANY POSSIBILITIES! http://cowsgomooandducksgoquack.blogspot.com/2010/07/geometric-creations.html

  • Reply
    Barbara Zaborowski
    July 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Great contrast-I love it!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2010 at 5:13 am

    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!

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    July 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    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!

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