Theodore Waddell, Motherwell’s Angus, 1994. Oil paint on canvas. Denver Art Museum; Gift of Barbara J. and James R. Hartley.

Theodore Waddell, Motherwell’s Angus, 1994. Oil paint on canvas. Denver Art Museum; Gift of Barbara J. and James R. Hartley.

Tinker with Mark Making Tools

Using uncommon painting tools allow children creativity and a choice when determining what and how to create their artwork.  

Artists often tinker with non-conventional tools to help create their art. In Motherwell’s Angus, artist Theodore Waddell uses masonry trowels and specially modified brushes originally intended to apply tar to roofs to create a heavy build-up of paint on the surface of the canvas.

Materials for the Art Center:

  • Potato masher
  • Dish cleaning brushes
  • Toy cars
  • Legos, blocks
  • Combs
  • Artificial flowers
  • Dried Indian Corn or a corn cob
  • Nature ideas: pine cones, pine needles, flowers, rocks, twigs, and leaves

Model for children how they can make their own mark-making tools with a clothespin and one of the materials in the center. With either the kitchen tools or child-made “brushes,” invite young artists to paint and experiment with the strokes they can create on paper.

Guiding questions:

  • What do you notice about using these different tools?
  • How are their strokes different or similar?
  • Why do some materials hold more or less paint?
  • What are some other tools you might like to try?