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.


  1. Pretty! Leaves are such a great source for beautiful artwork.:D

  2. These are lovely, Barb. The colors are so rich - are they liquid watercolors? We've scratched into tempera as you described, but not into watercolor. Anyhow - beautiful! - my favorite time of the year.

  3. Beautiful colorful compositions.
    Your students did a fantastic job.