Brendan's painting

Still Nothing

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.


Brendan, Francis and Asha were painting at the art table. They busily chatted about colour.


“Blue + Red + Purple =   “ Brendan asked

 “It means this colour. “ Asha said as she pointed to part of her painting that was a deep plum purple colour.

 “No it means this colour. “ Brendan said pointing to part of his painting.

“What is that colours name?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” Brendan said.


I didn’t know what you would call the colour either, it was a greyish purple colour with hints of brown. The children continued to focus on their painting.


“Can you tell me about your painting?” I asked Asha.

 “It’s a rainbow sunset house.” She responded.

 “Is that why you used so many colours?” I asked

 “Yes.” She said

 “ Brendan can you tell me about your painting?”

 “It’s nothing, just nothing.” Brendan responded.

 “Oh, did you know that sometimes when art doesn’t look like something they call it Abstract art.” I said.



 We googled abstract art and I read him the definition. He listened and then looked at me. “It’s still nothing. Sometimes I paint something. This time I didn’t. It just didn’t feel like something.”

 We looked at images we found on Google of abstract art. After he saw other examples he continued with it still being nothing. I found  this discussion fascinating. Why was it nothing? Why sometimes does he paint something but not this time?  I found the painting beautiful. I admired the way he mixed the colour and the brush strokes he used to apply the paint to paper. Far to often though we adults want to label things for children, but for the children sometimes its just about the experience.

I had quickly jotted down some notes on the conversation between Asha and Brendan about colour. I also jotted down some notes about our conversation about abstract art. I had these notes on my clipboard the following week, when I brought it out. At the end of the day I went to jot down some notes. On my page of notes from the art interaction, I found a note from Brendan “Still Nothing”


Brendan’s painting


About Danielle

Danielle is an Early Childhood Educator,blogger, self admitted ECE geek, Preschool teacher, Mother and project coordinator for The Images of Learning Project. These days she juggles presenting, conference calls and blogging with playing with her daughter and nursing her son. She looks forward to the day where she can once again finish her morning coffee.

4 thoughts on “Still Nothing

  1. Seems like another example of the process–the doing of it (feeling the brush strokes, moving the hand, smelling the paint)–being more important than the product–the name of it. Lovely, thanks.

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