Finger Painting for Adults*

The term adults implies persons over the age of 18, and is not indicative of a stage of maturation.

I’m never afraid to get my hands dirty…well, with paint anyway. I think of paintbrush strokes as being less than subtle, and an old card always ends up spreading paint over a huge amount of space. Diluting paint may make it less pronounced when pushing it around the page with one of these tools, but sometimes it still does not provide me with the look I’m going for. This is where my fearless fingers come into play, ready to smear, dollop, and spread!

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Finger Painting on an AJP

Dragging paint is something easy to do that creates a unique effect, and is something I do often with paint. However, there are so many different ways you can move paint around with your hands! Using my fingers provides me with control, allowing me to use as much pressure as I choose. I can leave thicker places in the paint, causing more opacity, or I can push and smear, making it thin enough to expose layers underneath. Covering my entire finger in paint allows me to create oval shapes on my page that slowly fade out, like using a stamp repeatedly; I also do this with just flecks of paint on my fingers, which create small, odd shapes. “Stamping” with your finger may sound primitive, but below is a landscape that I created by finger painting in this manner. No so primitive, is it?

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Finger Painted Landscape

Finger painting is something child like, and embracing it may help you reach back to the uninhibited creative roots of your youth. Those of us who make art are often worried that our creations are not pretty enough, but even a child can see beauty in a simple streak of color. Keeping an art journal isn’t like working on canvas: there are a hundred fresh starts just waiting for the turn of a page. It’s okay to make weird blobs and abstract shapes on a spread, even if you hate them, because you can always layer over it or continue further into your book.

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Finger Prints in My Art Journal

Smacking my fingers against a piece of paper can let out a little frustration for me, and making art in the process of relieving my anger or irritation just puts more meaning into my work. I feel more connected to pages with my finger painting, knowing that the individual curves of my finger prints are embedded in the paint, making the image something only my hands could create! It also creates unique shapes, unlike a stamp, which will make perfect O’s every time. That means it’s impossible to recreate, and is something special from a particular moment of my life.

I invite you to get your hands dirty too: don’t be afraid of your paint! Painting tools are wonderful, but sometimes its more about fun and less about pretty. Enjoy yourself while you’re creating, because beauty without soul is boring!

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