Tag Archives: watercolor

After School Art


Students and families have been asking me for a couple of years to bring back after school art. This year with permission of and encouragement from our new principal as well as our PTA and Foundation, I agreed. It has been really fun to allow the students to spend time in the art room and use my personal materials such as watercolor pencils, pencils in different hardnesses, textiles, beads, and even my treasured gelato oil pastels to create fun art pieces.

wc pencil

Watercolor Pencils

The class is very loosely structured. I give them project ideas, teach them how to use the tools and elements of art and off they go. It is not necessarily a step by step drawing or painting type of class but we have done a bit of that. The students choose what they want to learn about and we create things they are interested in.

We made beaded bracelets and kumihimo weaving. bead-bracelets.jpg

weaving bracelet.jpg

One boy wanted to know how to draw things more realistically so I taught him the basics of gridding as well as creating and using a viewfinder.gridding

We created marionette puppets similar to the one I made at the Basil Twist workshop I attended last fall. They also made stick puppets.

.basil twist puppet.jpgpuppet.jpgstick puppet

We made CD spinners and talked about color and pattern and what would happen when the patterns and colors spun together.

cd spinner armin.jpg cd spinner.jpg

We made LED Origami balloons and talked about positive and negative connections as well as how folding and following directions in origami can be hard sometimes.

origami led.jpg

We talked about shadow and highlight and they create a picture of oranges. We also talked about and created gesture drawings of people.


They made their own sketchbooks

sewn sketch.jpg sketchbook

They created sculptures using chenille stems, cardboard, buttons, feathers, and washi tape.


Most recently, students looked at Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa. We talked about how it was made, what it represented, how the artist used color and how could we deconstruct it to reconstruct it using the art tools of our own choice.

the wave

The last 6 weeks have been a lot of fun having an open art forum and allowing students to play with art materials and be creative while learning. My favorite part is how my students are able to look at something, discuss it, figure out how it was made and then they create their own version.


Oil Pastel Flowers



My Grade Two classes did these. They have a play that they do every year called “Going Buggy” This seemed like a good lesson to add to the bug lessons we have done in the past-bugs like plants after all.


I take out all the black pans from our watercolors to keep kids from painting every thing black because I do that, I try to find fun projects to do to use up the black paint.


Students were instructed to create either warm or cool colored flowers and then the centers were to be the opposite.


When finished, they painted black around the flowers.


Sailboat Silhouette



My students and parents LOVE this lesson. I do this one with First Grade. This year, I did the lesson with Grade 1 and the Grade 1 and Grade 2 Combo classes.


I think it always turns out great. The nice thing about this is if they make a mark they do not like, they can just color over it and it becomes a bigger boat or another sail. It also reinforces how to draw basic shapes.


This year, I had extra wide sharpies which made it easier for my students to color in large sails or large boats.



I think one key to success is to make sure the students go slowly around the outside and then they can move quickly when they are in the middle of the image.


Peter Diem Cows



Everyone seems to do a Peter Diem Cow lesson!


They are so colorful and perfect for young ones.


I had my K/1 class, do a guided drawing of a cow. Some wanted 4 legs, udders, and tails so they did. Others copied Peter Diem.


They colored with oil pastel then used markers and water for a blended background.


More Beatrix Potter


I teach a total of five classrooms of grade three students. As I continued to teach Beatrix this week to the rest of our third graders, more students chose her other characters. So much fun to teach students about this wonderful artist, author, and business woman.


Jemima Puddleduck


Tale of Two Bad Mice


Squirrel Nutkin


Kitty in Boots


The Tailor of Gloucester


Beatrix Potter



Because March is Women’s History month my classes all were introduced to a different woman artist.


Grade three learned about Beatrix Potter and her water color illustrations of animals. They learned that she was also a sheep farmer, preservationist and business woman.


They could use watercolor, colored pencils, sharpie or any combination of those and could choose to do any of her animas or one of their own anthropomorphic animals.


They all chose Peter Rabbit. Probably because it is spring time.

Bugs in Boxes



Second grade usually does an insect unit. They learn about insects and their body parts. Every year, I do something a little different, it seems.


This year, the students drew about five boxes. They then put different bugs in each box.


The bugs could be real or imaginary.


I have a bunch of plastic insects from my children that I bring in for them to look at if they want to.


They could color the bugs with marker, pencil, or oil pastel.


When finished, they painted the space in between the boxes with brown paint to look a bit like wood.



Laurel Burch Cats


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For this lesson, my kindergarten students drew a cat and flowers in oil pastel and then painted over it with black water color.

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I like watercolor paintings to be bright and cheery so I take out the black and brown paint. I have a lot of black watercolor paint because I take it our of our paint trays.


This lesson allowed us to use up some of those black paint trays. The hardest part is getting kindergarten students to color hard enough that the water color resists the paints.


Gold Rush Buildings



I love finding current working artists who can inspire my students. For this lesson, we looked at the work of illustrator Mateusz Urbanowicz. He is an illustrator, originally from Poland, who lives and works in Japan. He has great videos of him actually drawing his “Tokyo Storefronts” series so the students and I looked at one together.


The students had lots of great questions and loved watching the artist work. For this lesson, I allowed them to use pencil and make a sketch before inking.


Normally, pencil sketches are not allowed for art because of time constraints. We have a “no mistakes in art” rule so any mark you make on your paper is not a mistake and can be turned into something. I think it forces them to trust themselves and think about creative solutions to a mark they decide they do not want.


These images were created in the style of Mateusz Urbanowicz but took on a Social Studies twist when we talked about businesses that existed during the Gold Rush. They created their images of buildings as if they could have been part of a Gold Rush town.

Rainbow Fish



Our School is participating in the Compassion It Program.


Rainbow Fish seemed like a great art project for our Compassion It week. This lesson was done with my preschool students. In the story, Rainbow Fish learns that sharing helps make friends.


I did a directed draw of Rainbow fish. Students used black crayon to draw, oil pastel to fill in the color and liquid watercolor for the water.