Sunday, September 12, 2010


by Helen Hunt Jackson

The Goldenrod is yellow, the corn is turning brown,

The apple trees in orchards, with fruit are bearing down.

The gentian's bluest fringes are curling in the sun:

In dusty pods the milkweed its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest, in every meadow nook,

And asters by the brookside make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes each morning the grapes' sweet odors rise,

By noon the roads all flutter with yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens, September days are here,

With summer's best of weather and autumn's best of cheer.

The above poem is what we used for recitation this week (we recite it daily at the start of our seat-work, reading from a posting I put on our easel), and is what J has used for writing practice all week (writing a stanza a day, see the bottom photo). Zoo Boy's writing practice was our story summaries (that is enough writing for him for one day). Then on Friday we painted from the poem. J's painting is on top, Zoo Boys is above this paragraph, and mine is below.

Here is how we created these wet-on-wet watercolor paintings (all of our paintings are my own ideas, other Enki/Waldorf families, and anyone else interested in using them, may feel free to use these instructions or share with others):

The boys followed my lead. I recited the first stanza and painted the upper left half and some of the lower right half of my paper with yellow, using broad brush strokes.

We cleaned our brushes, then, as I recited the second stanza, I painted the middle portion (what was remaining white) blue, then continued that blue down into the lower right corner so that it made green, again using broad brush strokes. I should have made sure we had more yellow at the bottom of that page, our green would have been more, well, green. Or I could have just left it yellow to match the field on the upper part of the page, but it just seems like more fun to do a bit of blending on our page. I thought it gave it a nicer feel overall and I thought there was already enough yellow on that page.

We cleaned our brushes again and this time we loaded our brushes with only water. As I recited the first half of the third stanza (about the sedges), we used short upward strokes to brush the top edge of the blue up into the upper part of the yellow.

Then we cleaned and dried our brushes, and dabbed them along the "sedges" we had just created, and then along the "brook" (the blue) to lift the paint off and create the "asters" as I recited the second half of the third stanza (about the asters). I probably should have waited for the paint to dry a bit more before we did this step, the boys complained that their spaces (the asters) kept filling back in with color.

I then squeezed out a blob of undiluted deep yellow paint onto a paint jar lid, spread it out a bit, and dipped just the tip of my brush in it so that there was just a bit of concentrated paint on the very tips of my brush. Then, as I recited the fourth stanza, I dabbed my brush against the paper in pairs to create butterfly wings.

Next I squeezed out a blob of deep blue, and used the edge of a foam paint brush to dip in and dab between the wings to create the butterflies' bodies, while reciting the last stanza of the poem.

The painting was a wonderful wrap-up to our week, and the perfect time to do something "extra" since we don't read a new story on Fridays.


Numeric MaMa said...

Your paintings are so lovely and inspiring! said...

Love this - appreciate the inspiration adn the guidiance from someone working a bit ahead. I'd like to sign up for your blog to be emailed to me am I missing the place where I would do that?

Emily said...

Oh my gosh, those are gorgeous - thanks for sharing - this helps me understand where we're headed.

Harvest Moon said...

Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone!

Anita, I have no idea how to subscribe via email...although I know it's possible because a friend of mine set up another blog that way. I'm afraid I'm quite technologically challenged. If I can figure out a way to put a button on the blog to make it easier, I'll do it, so check back. Thanks! :)