Tumbling Crayons

My afterschool watercolor class is filled with a few kinders, a lot of 1st through 3rd graders, and a few 4th and 5th graders. Rather than separate them, because grade is often irrelevant to ability, I choose projects that are adaptable. In my class today, the “beginners” practiced just drawing several separate crayons, the “mid levels” … Read More

Painted Light Switch

I saw this project in an Arts and Activities magazine. When your fridge and walls are already filled with your child’s art, have them paint your switch plates! 1. Your local hardware or home improvement store carries plastic switch plates for every need and they’re quite inexpensive. Provide the students with lots of acrylic paint and … Read More

Make a Vegetable Painting, Roots and All

I found this idea about how to make a vegetable painting over at Artsonia.com. It’s a great way to supplement studies about plant life, and makes a very pretty botanical study too. MATERIALS • Watercolor paper • Crayola Crayons • Liquid Watercolor paint DIRECTIONS 1. Students draw a horizontal pencil line across the middle of the … Read More

Maud Lewis Cat Painting

Renowned Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970) painted colorful scenes of rural Nova Scotia using random art supplies and painful hands as a result of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.   1. Wet a 12″ x 9″ piece of watercolor paper, and paint the background bright yellow. Let dry. Using watercolor pencils (like Prismacolor), draw … Read More

Ancient Maps

I’ve found another use for my supply of dry wax paper, which is my staple for canvas portrait art. The paper is perfect for tracing, painting and crumbling, as in making “old” maps. 1. A class was studying ancient Greece, so I googled for a line drawing of a map and found THIS. I printed it … Read More

Sailboat on a Lake

This sailboat painting gives students a chance to add interest with elements such as the reflection of the sails and blue sky and the tonal greens across the shoreline forest. 1. Draw the boat and sails. Add a horizon line. Make some zig-zag lines for two layers of trees. 2. Trace all the lines with a black permanent marker. 3. Use a white … Read More

Easter Card

Here’s an idea for a pretty Easter Card. Grid formats are fun to play with so feel free to make your own variation of this drawing. 1. I started by folding a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ watercolor paper in half. To make a quick grid without a lot of measuring, give each student a 1″ … Read More

Starry Night Skyline

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting has inspired many an art project, and this is just one more. 1. Students to make several large yellow oil pastel circles of various sizes on a sheet of watercolor paper. Next they draw with a blue oil pastel lots of curvy lines that go around all the yellow circles. … Read More

Special Needs Art Project

posted in: Painting | 2

I’ve been asked in the past about art lessons for those with special needs, and just recently found this idea to work pretty well. I see a class every week that has mild to severely autistic kids, and it can be a struggle to find projects that cover the range of abilities.1. I used 9″ x … Read More

Jim Dine Inspired Hearts

Jim Dine is considered an important contemporary artist who helped to create the Pop Art movement. He used different popular imagery in his art, but hearts seemed to be his favorite. 1. I started with watercolor paper that had 6 hearts already printed on it (you can download a copy HERE) to make the project move faster. … Read More

Watercolor for Elephants

I tried out this elephant just today and loved the results! Some students went for realism with a muddy landscape background, and others had fun with fancy accessories. Either way, it’s another example of my favorite combination of black Sharpie marker + crayon + liquid watercolor paints. And yes, a step-by-step tutorial may be seen below. • View … Read More

How to Draw an Elephant Tutorial

A stock art drawing inspired this “How to Draw an Elephant” tutorial. I like how it helped students fill their paper, and just focus on the front of the animal. Afterwards, there was lots of room for being creative with adornment as well. MATERIALS • Multimedia or watercolor paper • Sharpie marker, black • Crayons • … Read More

Color Wheel Heart

Combine a color lesson with Valentine’s Day and you may end up with a very pretty card too. I love it when students just draw with watercolor paints, and not use any pencil first. One option is to give them a heart-punched card that they can use as a stencil. They fill it in with red … Read More

Dry Brush Winter Painting

This lesson was designed to show students how pretty layered colors can be when using opaque paints, such as acrylic or tempera. Some very painterly effects can happen when you just lightly brush one color on top of another. SESSION ONE: Students painted the bottom third of a heavy paper white to create a base. This example … Read More

Pieced Snowflake Art Trading Cards

I crossed my Snowflake Resist posting with my Art Trading Card class and came up with this project today. I also tested out my “poor man’s watercolor supplies” which I think give the best results for the least amount of money. All you need is Strathmore Kid Series Drawing paper and Dick Blick Liquid Watercolor Paint, in this case … Read More

Crayon Resist Snowflake

If you go to the holiday decoration section at Michaels, you can find these amazing laser-cut wood snowflake decorations that are cheap (about three for $1) and perfect for making crayon rubbings. These are the same snowflakes I used for my Plaster Paperweight project. 1. I made this picture with a white crayon, but younger students could use … Read More

Abstract Winter Trees

A simple illustration I came across in a website inspired this project. 1. Give the students 2 different sizes of narrow triangle cardboard templates, and ask them to draw 3 triangles (trees) across the middle of a sheet of paper. 2. Instruct the students to draw a curvy ground line, and then connect the ground with … Read More

Miro Watercolor Painting

Joan Miro was a Spanish artist who developed a very whimsical style back in the 1930s. His painting called “People and Dog in Sun” is  fun to imitate by drawing stick figures, stars and circles. 1. Draw one large stick figure in the middle of a sheet of watercolor paper, preferably in some action pose. Miro often repeated … Read More

“My Favorite” Collage

posted in: Collage, Painting | 0

This could be called “My Favorite” page, which could include food, pets, flowers, clothes … anything that is easy to find in your average magazine. 1. I found my photo first, and glued it to the center of the page. 2. I wrote in curved lines, “My Favorite” on top and then “Oatmeal Cookies” below with … Read More

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Flowers

One thing that watercolor paint loves to do is run together. Instead of fighting that tendency, I showed my students how they can make “puddles” their friend by painting lots of irregular spots, some overlapping, which could later be outlined as delicate little flowers. 1. Flower spots of varying sizes and colors are painted on the … Read More

Art Trading Cards, or ATCs

Art Trading Cards are miniature works of art (2.5″ x 3.5″) that fit inside standard plastic card sleeves. This type of art was started in Switzerland in 1996 and grew out of an interest in mail art. ATCs are now produced all over the world in various media, including pencils, pens, markers, watercolor, acrylic paints, collage, … Read More

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