The boys started by painting their bases of plywood with bright bold colours. They then happily dug through the bins of wood scraps and as usual, I encouraged idea forming and mental pre-planning before they got started.

H: I just see these things and I wanna get them. Seize them.

Rachel: You gotta be thinking about how the pieces are going to connect, how they will work together, and what your sculpture will look like in the end.

H: I’m just going to make a tower… I’m trying to make a tower. Just like a crazy random sculpture.

Rachel: So what will be your main pieces?

M: I’m just going to make whatever. I’m not a big follower. I just like to do my own thing.

This is something that M has reiterated to me more than once, and I think this means his ideas come during the exploration part of his creative process, and he gets a lot of personal joy when he makes discoveries. That will likely always be how he most enjoys approaching art, although I’m starting to see more conscious planning happening in his process, even though he might not be aware of it yet.

Contemplating his wooden pieces and his plywood base, M is clearly making a mental map/plan about his finished piece:

M: I can fit most of this stuff on it.

Rachel: You could even glue pieces on top of the towers.

M: I don’t think that will be necessary. Because they’re too tall. I’m not going to paint these, I’m only going to paint the ones that…

While M was forming his ideas, we talked about colours and H focused on colour with his sculpture. M had begun painting his wood with reds and oranges and yellow, and I made a comment how he was using very warm colors, so warm in fact that they reminded me of fire.

M: Speaking of a red, did you know that all flames in fireplaces are blue and orange? Today we had red.

H:  One red flame, one red flame. I think the demon was visiting.

Rachel: A demon?

M: You know those ghosts with the tridents and..

H: Cause demons have red flames.

I think Halloween had really gotten into them! A few moments pass and H’s mind has jumped to completely different colours.

H: Where do you get this limish green? You put white and green together? …I’ve made colours like this before. Well I do like this colour. It’s a nice colour..

M: Well at least I know I can fit all the pieces on this now. I wanna say, I wanted to paint all the buildings black, and paint little dots over it for windows. With light coming from them.

H: Then you’re gonna add a little yellow in it.

Great advice H!


While M was thinking about the concept of his piece, H was interested in randomness and variety in his. H paid close attention to colour, and right from the start he mixed colours to get new shades, thinking about colours and how to make them. He talked to himself about colours, verbalizing his choices. Counting his painted pieces as he went.

M also had his own colour discoveries while painting his wood sculpture pieces, and piped up every so often amid H’s chatter:

M: Hey look what I just accomplished! I didn’t even mean to do it. I just mixed. I just wanted some green, and it turned out to make a beautiful shade of purple and a beautiful shade of green.

H: Orangey orangey. Orange is close to one of my favourite favourite colours.

Rachel: Mine too.

H: Where’s the red.

Rachel: Max has got it over on his side.

H: Well whatever then. I don’t have to make yellow.

Rachel: What do you mean?

H: Well cause when you mix orange and red it makes yellow.

Rachel. Wait.. Think about it.

M: What makes orange?

H: Yellow and red.

Rachel: The primary colours are red, blue…

H: I know what the primary colours are.

Rachel: What the other one then?

H: That’s an easy one. Yellow.

Rachel: You can’t mix any two colours to get primary colours. You can’t mix 2 colours to make red. It’s never happened.

H: Yah you can., I know how to make red. You take a little green, a little blue, then you put beige in. That makes red… You need to put a lot a lot of yellow and orange in. and then a little green might make orange, but probably a purplish orange… I mean red. I mean blue! I mean green! Well, if you mix too many colours together you probably would end up with brown.

Rachel: Can’t argue with that!


The project continued over the next few weeks. After the painting was complete, the boys glued their wood pieces to the bases, and added a few other elements of their choice. They even used spray paint at the very end for the final touches.