Block Crayon Drawing
Art, LifeWays, Photographs, Waldorf Education

Teaching Block Crayon Drawing and Watercolor Painting

Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching several sessions to LifeWays students who had come to Maine for the east coast training. The experience allowed me to take a welcome break from the endless data entry I’ve been doing to ready the new Bella Luna Toys website. The LifeWays Child Care Training is a comprehensive training to give students the understanding and skills they need to transform themselves and their work with young children, and is inspired by Waldorf education and the insights of Rudolf Steiner. These students teach in Waldorf schools, childhood centers, pre-schools or home programs.

Among the classes I taught were crayon drawing with beeswax block crayons, and wet-on-wet watercolor painting, as practiced in Waldorf education. I had a marvelous week preparing for the class, immersing myself in form and color! With thanks to Madrona Wienges and her camera, I am able to share images of our classes with you.

Sarah Baldwin Teaches Coloring

Beeswax Block Crayon Drawings

Coloring with Beeswax Block Crayons

Coloring with Beeswax Crayons

Birthday Pictures

Beeswax Block Crayon Drawings


Painting with Stockmar Watercolor Paint

Waldorf Watercolor Painting

In addition to the Stockmar Beeswax Crayons, Stockmar Watercolor Paint, Waldorf art supplies and the book Painting With Children which are currently available from Bella Luna Toys, I am excited to be introducing new resources for coloring and drawing when the new site goes live. Stay tuned!

Have questions about drawing or painting? Leave them here, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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  • Reply Tahra July 26, 2010 at 11:16 am

    I’ve been hoping you would post on this subject! Can you explain how to mix and store watercolor paints? We love using them but our mixing methods are haphazard, with inconsistent results. Also, the paints seem to spoil if I don’t keep them in the refrigerator. Do you have any advice on guiding a child who is mainly interested in painting images so she can enjoy wet on wet painting? Thanks so much! love your blog!

  • Reply Sarah Baldwin July 26, 2010 at 11:43 am

    So glad you asked, Tahra.

    I don’t have an exact ratio for paint to water, but what I do is this. I put a small dollop of Stockmar watercolor paint in the bottom of a pint size jar. Maybe a half a tablespoon. Fill the jar with water and stir. (I use a chopstick to stir.) Mix well, then test the intensity of the color on a scrap of paper.

    Some teachers like the colors to be soft and pastel, but I like to give children a real color experience, so I prefer more vibrant colors with more pigment. It’s really a matter of preference. If your color looks too pale, add a little more paint, a little at a time, until you achieve the desired intensity. Remember, it’s less wasteful to start pale and add more paint, than to have to strong a color and have to add more water.

    When you are done painting, cover the jars and keep them in the refrigerator, where they will keep for a couple of months.

    Older children will want to paint forms and images. How old is the child in question? For early childhood students (under seven), we don’t give any instruction at all. We can model painting just with clouds of color, but if I child wants to paint a picture OF something, we don’t discourage.

    By the time a child reaches first grade, then a teacher will start giving instruction and technique, but they start with very specific color exercises, such as a yellow circle, surrounded by blue.

    Do you have the book Painting With Children? It’s very helpful for learning to paint this way with young children.

  • Reply Tahra July 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Yes, I have the book Painting With Children. My daughter is five. Sometimes she enjoys wet on wet painting, especially if I am painting along side her, but most often she prefers to paint images, and is happier painting on dry paper so her lines stay sharp and clean. Her paintings are usually very detailed and imaginative; she’s always surprising me! Of course I’m thrilled that she loves to paint, and the most important thing is that she enjoys it and is happy with the result. However, I love wet on wet painting and want to help her explore that style of painting as much as I can. Painting with Children has been helpful in offering ways to approach colors with children. I like using poems and stories about colors while painting. We also have fun drawing with our beeswax crayons and then painting over our drawings!
    Thanks for the tips on mixing paints!

  • Reply Sarah Baldwin July 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I would suggest painting along side her as you are doing, and modeling for her. I always tell a color story when I am painting with children. Here’s an example:

    “One bright summer morning, Tippy Brush woke up. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. He jumped out of bed, and was ready to play, but before he ran outside, he had a nice, warm foot bath.

    [Here I would model rinsing the brush in my jar of wate, and wiping it on a rag or sponge.]

    Then Tippy Brush called to Yellow and said, ‘Come, Yellow, and play with me!'” Then Tippy and Yellow skipped all about the meadow, and Yellow left his warm golden sunshine everywhere he went.

    Then soon, Friend Red came along and said, ‘Can I play, too?’

    ‘Of course!’, cried Tippy and Yellow. Red was bold and bright, and became the leader of their game. And as the three friends ran and skipped about, another friend quietly showed up and joined in their play.

    And who do you think it was?

    “That’s right! Orange came to play, too!”

    • Reply Erik Dahl April 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      The story idea is great especially for the under-5’s, HOWEVER we recommend that the story-teller match the bird’s gender to that of your child’s. We tend to use “he” a lot in story telling which leaves out our daughters’ experience of the story.

  • Reply rae July 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    oh, madrona is in my foundation studies group!! she is a lovely woman and her passion for children beams from her soul. gorgeous photos! i love to see all that color together. 😉

  • Reply H West August 5, 2010 at 12:03 am

    No questions. . .Those are beautiful!!!!!

  • Reply Chelsea August 14, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Beautiful post, Sarah. We’ll be sure to pick up a copy of this book.

    Do you have any idea where might I find instruction on drawing Waldorf-esque figures like those pictured here? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • Reply Sarah August 14, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    So glad you asked, Chelsea. In fact, I have a new book for sale called Coloring With Block Crayons that is just wonderful! It’s not listed on the present site, but is one of the new items available on the new site (coming soon, I promise!).

    It was written and illustrated by a Waldorf class teacher, and it’s a treasure for learning how to make these Waldorf style drawings with beeswax crayons. I used the book to prepare for teaching this class, and I had such a fun time doing the exercises and experiencing color.

    I happen to have them in stock now for $29.95. If you’re interested shoot me an email and I can send you more information.

  • Reply Nichole January 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    Just wanted to say that I’m seriously thinking of taking the Lifeways training. A new program is starting up here in Austin this summer. I know the training would compliment the work I do at my school and of course at home. I’m getting so excited thinking about it!

    Thanks again for the wonderful work you do!

  • Reply Sarah Baldwin February 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Oh, Nichole, that’s exciting! I’m on the board of LifeWays, but I wasn’t aware that a training is starting in Austin. I’m sure you will find it life changing.

    Let me know if you decide to do it! Did you see the video that my son and I helped make about LifeWays?

    I narrated, and Harper edited.

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