-Triveni Goswami Vernal
Registered Special Educator (A64010)
Process art is a type of art where the primary focus is on the process that goes into its creation, rather than the outcome or the product. Process Art fosters independence, freedom to manipulate various tools and enables creative thinking and problem solving.
According to Tate Modern, “The term Process art refers to where the process of its making art is not hidden but remains a prominent aspect of the completed work, so that a part or even the whole of its subject is the making of the work” (https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/process-art). Although the Process Art movement gained prominence in the 1960s and ‘70s, its origins can be traced back to the Abstract Expressionism movement in the 1940s and ‘50s, especially in the works of artists such as Jackson Pollock.
Process art can be done by children and adults alike, but it is especially beneficial for young children who can explore the process of creativity, unhindered by rules and expectations around outcomes. It is a child centric process and allows the child to apply critical thinking skills. Process Art allows one to “let go” and truly enjoy the process, unencumbered by what one is expected to do with it.
It is an awesome technique to work on a child’s fine motor skills. It is open-ended. The focus is on experiencing the process. The individual can explore and manipulate various tools, play with various textures, utilize seemingly mundane objects around the house (paper rolls, forks, spoons, aluminium foil, scrubbers, cardboard etc) and outdoors from nature (leave, flowers, twigs, stones, nuts etc) and create art with them.
PROCESS ART ACTIVITIES:
1) Printing with Cardboard Rolls: In its simplest form, take some bright colours on a palette, and take a cardboard roll. Dip the cardboard roll in the paint, and ask the child to print circles on the paper. One can make various shapes with the end of a cardboard roll. If one pinches it, it takes the shape of a heart. If you cut strips into the end, one can print flowers on paper. The possibilities are endless.
2) Painting with Straws: This is a great technique, if one wants to practice “blowing out air” via a straw. Pour some diluted paints on paper. And ask the child to blow air into the straw and move the diluted paint around the paper, to make different shapes.
3) Printing with Leaves and Flowers: Ask the child to take a walk outdoors and pick up fallen leaves and flowers. Take different coloured paints. Immerse a sponge in the colours for wider coverage area. Dab the leaf or flower into the sponge and then print on the paper.
4) Drip painting: Take a large paper stuck on a vertical surface or a canvas on an easel and let the child pour watered down paints from the top of the canvas/paper and let the colours stream /drip down, making various patterns.
5) Salt Painting Art: For this, one can use water colours and paper. Use watercolours to make various shapes on a relatively thick paper. Sprinkle salt over the wet painted areas. One can use table salt or rock salt granules that are bigger. When the paint dries off, and the salt is removed, the areas with the salt would have different patterns on it.
6) Pulled String Art: Take a relatively thick piece of paper. Pour some diluted paint on the paper and place a thick string /yarn on the wet paint in a wavy pattern and then pull the string slowly. It will create interesting patterns, often similar to flowers.
7) Shaving Foam Marbling: Squeeze some shaving foam on a deep dish with raised sides. Add some colours on the foam and take a spoon to make patterns on it. Take a paper and place it over the foam and press it for some time. Remove the paper, and take the edge of a cardboard to remove the foam from the paper. You will be left with some amazing patterns on the paper.
Thus, we see that there are numerous ways in which we can introduce art to a child in a fun and playful manner. The process of creating art should not be intimidating for the child. Even if the child has challenges in various fine motor or gross motor skills, process art can be a safe space for the child to explore playing with colours, textures and various tools. The focus should be on making the experience enjoyable for the child.
Author Triveni Goswami Vernal
Triveni Goswami Vernal is an Autism advocate, registered Special Educator (CRR A64010) and an Independent Researcher. Her areas of interest include Autism, Disability Rights, Gender, Art and Northeast studies. She is a mum to an 11 year old on the Autism Spectrum.
**The author has a Diploma in Art Therapy, and is Certified in Art & Ideas: Teaching with Themes, The Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Kabir Vernal