By Jenn Sepulveda
The steady sound of gentle showers falling overhead, fills my slumber with colorful visions of flowers in bloom. Indeed, in the morning when I rise, my eyes are rewarded with vibrant hues that crave a witness. I’m called outdoors to absorb the richness of nature’s palette, and if I wander through a field of mustard flowers, or stop to munch on a patch of sour grass, their shades of yellow stain my fingers. The bright nasturtiums also beckon, flowers and leaves alive with juicy color. When I squeeze them beneath my fingers, their colors tint my skin shades of green and orange… it occurs to me that the leaves and flowers of springtime may have been the very first pigments used to draw and paint.
Or perhaps it was clay from the earth, or ground up stones, or…
If we begin to pose the question “where do colors come from?”
We open the door to adventure, and children, of course, love adventures!
Grab a harvest basket(or anything to carry nature's palette of colors in), and head outside to gather information.
Will a stick make color? Or a stone? What if the stone can be ground up? Can we paint with dirt? Which flowers or leaves contain the most vibrant colors? Are there any berries around?
As always, when harvesting, remember good manners. Remind children to approach respectfully, and encourage them to ask before taking… and if the plant or tree or stone says “Yes!”, then sing a simple song of gratitude or leave an offering behind. Remind them that sometimes you will also hear a clear “No!” This, too, must be respected. If a plant is too young, or all alone, it will need all it’s resources to grow healthy and strong.
Harvesting is an act of mindfulness and reciprocity.
Once you have a palette to work with, you can pull out a piece of paper and begin to play.
What happens when each item is rubbed onto the paper?
Can you use some of the leaves you gathered as stencils and rub other colors over them? What adds texture?
Which colors have a particular smell?
Enjoy the surprises while you play!
You never know what creation hides within your palette.
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Wild Roots staff authors include Erin Boehme, Lia Grippo, CJ Cintas, Anne McCarthy, Tyler Starbard, Jenn Sepulveda, Heather Young, Amalia Smith Hale, Natalia Pareja...