Monday, March 12, 2012

Warm/Cool Landscapes

(Photo note: Can't quite get the contrast
right, so the color's a little off.)
Second grade students recently completed warm and cool color landscapes in oil pastel on black construction paper. I've seen this project on several blogs, but I really like the tutorial on Kids and Glitter's blog

My students really loved this project, and it made them feel so successful. The basic premise is pretty simple: Students create a landscape drawing with very clearly separated sky and land elements (hills, mountains, etc.) Students place warm colors only in the sky and cool colors only in the land, or they can choose the reverse. (My students and I decided that when the cool colors are in the sky it looked like night time.)

In addition to the tips on Kids and Glitter, I gave my students a large (12x18) sheet of newsprint to put beneath their black paper. For some students, the ability to visualize the concentric circles in the sky is really difficult. They want to connect the lines at the edge of the paper and have difficulty imagining that each circle just keeps going as though the paper continued, as well. I helped students solve this problem by having them continue the circles on their newsprint (so they could see the complete circles), which really clarified this step for them. For many, once they used the newsprint to draw the complete circle a couple of times, they understood what was happening and were able to finish their drawing only on the construction paper.

The results are very dynamic (as long as students press firmly and don't leave a lot of black construction paper showing through the pastel). The other examples of this project that I've seen use black pastel to trace the lines in the drawing, but I gave students a choice. Most of them chose to leave the lines untraced for a softer look. Many also wanted to add snow caps to their mountains. Nice.

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