Tag Archives: tempera paint

Sail Boat Collage



My K/1 Combo class did this lesson. They painted the background first doing the sky white then adding blue, they then painted the ocean with blue, green, and white. We did not rinse between colors so that was one less clean up step. I had them wipe their brushes on scrap paper or their placemats.


While that was drying, I showed them our “magic square” trick. A square can be cut into 2 triangles or 2 rectangles.


They then made boats with the squares of painted paper. I often use my old demo lessons chopped up for things like this. I also have some art room helpers who will take the paint leftovers from a paint day and paint on “oops” papers.


That paper is made by my upper grade student helpers. While I am pretty conservative in pouring paint, there is always a bit of leftover paint on the supply plates and it is a good way to use that up. (Reduce, reuse recycle: it’s good for the budget)


They then cut and assembled the boats however they wanted to.



Apple Still Life



I did these apples with my K/1 combo class.


I showed them how to draw apples in a bowl, on a table, in a footed bowl and they could do them however they chose to.


We drew them with black crayon and filled in with paint.


One mom told me her child loved it so much he kept drawing apples in bowls.


I think they are a lot of fun.



Clouds and Black Mountain


Fifth graders study clouds and I thought it would be fun for them to paint them. As the students walked in, the teacher asked what we were doing, I said clouds and Black Mountain. He said we just learned yesterday about Lenticular clouds.  The timing was so perfect.


We have a local mountain that can be seen from many of the upstairs windows and the school parking lot.20161206_160453.jpg

It is called Black Mountain.It is 1,500 feet.


The top is covered with various radio and other antennae. It is covered in scrub brush and has dusty trails and loads of rocks but people love it for local hiking and mountain biking.


I thought we could put the two together: the mountain in our backyard and the study of clouds. We talked about all kinds of clouds and looked at pictures of clouds. We talked about clouds in art and looked at work by Beirstadt and O’Keeffe among others


As always, I did the demo, told them my thoughts about it and let them have a latitude of choices. I suggested Black Mountain but the kids could choose any landscape they desired.


Some kids chose Whistler or Half Dome- yes, this artist made sure I knew that Half Dome is NOT a mountain. I even had some choose to create beaches.


My only real requirement was that they had to paint some clouds.


A Day of Remembrance, Veteran’s Day



For my 5th graders, I usually do a Jasper Johns flag lesson around Veteran’s Day. This year I changed it up a little. We discussed the history of Veteran’s Day.

We looked at the work of Jasper Johns. Then we discussed what kinds of images related to Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day.

12208397_10153713995464042_8772930676530431289_n 12042665_10153713995524042_8418225927832872956_n

They created these images in tempera paint.


Lines and Color



This is a simple lesson that I like to do at the beginning of the year. I usually do it with First Grade but it can be done with any grade. We discuss lines and shapes and look for examples in the classroom.


Then the students follow a set of directions and draw using permanent marker. For example: draw three straight lines anywhere on your paper. Two lines must go off the page. Then  maybe the next step is to draw three empty circles, any size. The next step might be to draw a curved line that starts on a circle and goes off the page.


I usually give 5-6 drawing steps and then we talk about painting. I spend most of this lesson talking about how to use the paint brushes: big brushes for big jobs, little brushes for little jobs. How to take care of our paint supplies: be gentle with the brush, don’t scrub!. Clean brushes between colors to avoid making mud colors. We also spend a fair amount of time on clean-up.


Because it is just me with 25-30+ students, it is critical that we have a smooth system to make art making and clean-up run efficiently. Because kids love paint, I like to do a lot of paint projects. Taking extra time to clearly explain everything early on saves time and frustration later.


Winter Sweater and Hat Portraits



The 4th grade team asked for a winter themed lesson to be part of the holiday card their students created. The cards were to accompany the December gifts that the students made for their families.


For this lesson, students looked at images of knit hats and caps as well as sweaters and sweater patterns. We discussed pattern and facial proportion before they began.

IMG_5049   IMG_5045

They first drew in pencil then went over that in permanent marker.

IMG_5039 IMG_5038

We used thinned down tempera paint for the skins tones and watercolor paint for the hats, sweaters and backgrounds.

IMG_5037 IMG_5042

Students were allowed to used white pastel to make snowflakes in the background.

Jun painting




Trees in Snow


34981563 34981888

This lesson was done with preschool and TK. I am sure is could be adapted for other ages. For this lesson, we used a printing technique done with scraps of cardboard and tempera paint.

To begin, we used some clean room paper that was donated to our class. It is a pale blue color and has a thicker yet smoother texture than that of construction paper.


Students first cut white paper for their snow. I drew wiggly lines on a rectangle strip of paper that they then cut. This was for the 4’s. For the 3’s who had not yet begun scissor skills, they used the other half of the cut paper leftover from the 4’s.

You’ll see I use plates of glue for my students. This reduces the amount of glue used and aids in eye-hand coordination.

adding snow

The next step was to create the tree trunk. I demonstrated then students dipped the long edge of a cardboard rectangle into brown paint. We talked about trees being tall so most students did the trees all the way to the top edge of the paper.

printing the trunk

Once they had the trunks, we swapped for green paint and they created their trees.

printing the green green printing green leaves

After the trees were printed, students could go back and add snow drops to their art.

adding snow drops         




Spanish Galleons and Cabrillo


cabrillo  RG5620-2

Our grade 4 students learn about early explorers as part of their social studies curriculum. For this lesson, we discussed Juan Cabrillo and his discovery of San Diego in 1542.

32430917 (1)  32430770

I showed the students pictures of Spanish Galleons and we discuss their size and what they were used for-exploration and war. As well as things that were transported in them, where the captain would stay, the kinds of jobs they had. We also talk about a ship’s ballast as we have a location here called Ballast Point that once had a lighthouse and was the location that Cabrillo stopped at when he discovered San Diego.

32430718 (1) 32430764 (1)

One favorite fact is that if they transported four legged animals, those animals would often be in slings so they didn’t break their legs. They laugh when they learn that the ships were slow and that a person could walk about as fast as the ship could sail. Students are impressed by the size of these ships. For a large galleon, they could use up to 200 oak trees and the weight is the equivalent of 2 jumbo jets. Whew!

The students painted these images in tempera. Some painted the water first, others chose to paint the ship and then the water.

photo 1photo 2

The requirements: galleon shape with 3 masts and a bowsprit, crow’s nest optional. No white paper showing unless it is the sail. Could be sunset, mid day or stormy weather. I love that they are all so different. Great job 4th graders!

32430617 (1)

One of the best parts of the day was when one student took her water cup and put it into the sponge tray making the water less susceptible to spillage. I LOVE when kids come up with brilliant new ways to do things. Now why didn’t I think of that?

photo 3 (2)   photo 2 (3)