Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!  Hope all my friends in the northeast stay safe and dry this week as Hurricane Sandy makes landfall.  Sounds like this is going to be a big one!  We have our flashlights ready and will be pulling out the generator to keep the little pellet stove running in case the power fails.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blowing Leaves Watercolors

Here's another seasonal watercolor that students are finishing up this week.  These took a few weeks to complete, but the results are impressive and the lesson reinforces important art concepts and techniques.  These are third grade examples, but this lesson could (and was) adapted for a variety of grade levels.

The objective of the lesson was to create the rhythm and movement of falling or blowing leaves through repetition. 
To begin each student traced or drew a simple leaf shape and cut it out.  Using their leaf cut-out they repeated shapes on their paper to create a pleasing composition.  To keep things interesting, they were asked to demonstrate shapes that were separate, touching, overlapping, and running off the page.  They traced their shapes pressing hard with crayon.

On day two, we reviewed the concepts of positive and negative space, and cool colors, and wet-into-wet watercolor techniques.  Students painted the negative space using cool colors using wet-int-wet technique.
On the third day students we talked about warm colors and students began working on leaves.  We talked about the need for drying time when using watercolors to prevent color bleeds, too.  I also showed students how to scratch veins into the wet paint with the back of their brush another new technique for these guys.

The third day was "finish-up" day.  Students who had completed previous work on schedule did some black outlining.  Gold paint could also be added with a fine brush for early finishers.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vermont Fall Trees

These little watercolors were a big hit with my third and fourth graders and yielded a great result.  This is a project you can start in the morning and hang in the afternoon to enjoy before the leaves really do fall which is about to happen suddenly up here in Vermont.

To make these paintings you will need: Reference photos that show a variety of tree shapes and structures, a piece of paper, a paint box, and a couple pieces of chalk.  That's it.

Each child started with a 8X5 piece of paper.  Use the side of the chalks to lightly tone the paper.  We used yellow and green for the ground and blue and violet for the sky.  Blend the colors with a paper towel to make them light, misty, and very atmospheric.

For the tree mix a little black and brown in the lid of the watercolor set, or any color you like.  Start  the trunk and a long tapering line.  Add 2 or 3 thick branches on each side.  Make Y-shaped branches at the end of each branch.  Fill in more branches as needed to balance your tree.

Stipple in leaves.  Have your paper towel handy for this step because you will need a relatively dry brush.  Mix e red, yellow, green and orange paint with water in your set.  Dry your brush really well before picking up paint.  Stipple a little on your paper towel to adjust the wetness in your brush and when everything is right, stipple the leaves on your paper.
Kids loved making these little paintings.  And like I can start them in the morning and hang them in the afternoon.
Happy painting and enjoy those fall colors.