Monday, May 21, 2012

K and 1st Spring Watercolors!

I found the inspiration for these lovely spring watercolor paintings on Art Projects for Kids. It's a terrific exercise in simple landscape drawing for Kinders and 1st graders, and the frame around the edges of the drawing really helps students use all of their space rather than drawing tiny flowers in the middle of their paper. So this works as an excellent introduction to composition, as well. I decided to use watercolor paper and liquid watercolors as my youngest artists needed a new paint medium to explore.

Here's what we did:
  1. Class 1: I led the first class, the drawing portion, from the white board while drawing along with the children.

    • We drew the frame first, and I gave 1st grade students and advanced Ks the option of creating a double frame. Some of them added patterns within their frames. 
    • We then drew a horizon line. This could be grass or it could be hills. I left it up to my students.
    • We began adding flowers by drawing the blooms first, positioning them toward the top of the frame. Stems and leaves were added next. Whimsical flowers are a favorite of mine in my own art work, and the kids always make comments when they see my screen saver (seen in this post). This was a great opportunity to show them how I use lines and shapes to come up with fun new flowers to draw, and it allowed them to create their own imaginative flowers.
    • We then discussed the types of insects and bugs one might see in the spring. (We did this project in early April...I've just been late in posting.) Students added a bug or two or three flying through the air or crawling in the grass or on the leaves of the flowers.
    • Students then traced ALL of their pencil lines in Sharpie. This was excellent practice in using fine motor skills. Also, a number of students didn't understand the term "trace," so this was useful for vocabulary, as well.
  2. Class 2: Students painted their drawings with liquid watercolors. I really love these SO much more than pan watercolors. My only complaint is how easily the colors get muddy. Kinders aren't careful about cleaning their brushes, and by the time I got to paint with the last class (of 10), the blues and greens were a bit grayed out, and the yellow...well, the yellow simply was no more. I freshened the yellows for my 1st graders once, and we managed to keep them fairly yellow-ish for at least long enough to finish painting.
And here are more of our colorful spring watercolor paintings:

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