Mixed Media Landscape

mixed media landscapeThis is an upscale version of an old idea — using a small color photo as the beginning of a painting. Instead of cutting and gluing a magazine photo, I downloaded a photo and printed it directly onto watercolor paper.
1. Find a colorful square image that has elements that can be continued, such as flowers, horizon lines, etc. Download or scan the image to your computer.
2. Print the image as a 3″ to 4″ size image in the middle of a 9″ square piece of watercolor paper.
3. Ask the students to continue the image outward using watercolor pencils. Younger students can look for big shapes to continue, and older can look for more subtle changes in color. I like the look of leaving an empty border around the outside to emphasize the painting qualities.
4. Show the students how to carefully paint water over the pencil to turn it into watercolor paint. Color may also be dragged into the photo area to increase the blending of the two images.

11 Responses

  1. This is clearly a brilliant idea!

    I just can not imagine the limits of this marvelous technique

  2. karen


    I love your site, and get many inspirations from you…THANKS!! The book looks great also. My favorite artist is Matisse… I love his use of color!

    Karen Erakovich

  3. mother★lode

    What a fun/fabulous painting idea! I have featured it on my blog under today’s post titled Tuesday Tumblr:


    This is definitely something I plan to do soon with my preschooler, and I hope by sharing the link others will be inspired to try too!


  4. ginger

    here is a cool variation of the extended image idea i found odd images from the internet (not recognizable as well known art). i asked the kids to use a ruler and draw 1 inch around the image..that was collaged with maps blending into the colors of the original image …then another inch, this was done with black sharpie markers using the structure of the lines on the original image then another inch ..using water colors the idea was to blend the entire paper as one image..email for images from kids if interested


    I’m so excited to see my ideas spread around the blogosphere. I love to see things reinterpreted different ways. Thanks to everyone for your kind messages!

  6. gypsy

    Kathy, I really enjoy your website. The art projects you have developed are fabulous. Love how you developed the concept of starting with a photograph and extending, I’d seen this in a William Wegman expo but your idea of printing onto watercolor paper makes it much more do-able. I plan to try this with my kids!

  7. Anna

    I adore this project and so I had to do it myself:
    In a couple years when my kids are old enough (1&3 right now) I’ll do it with them.

    Love your site! Very fun and inspiring.

  8. Deanna

    We just tried reverse painting on photographs so this is going to be a great next project!!!

    I found you on The Crafty Crow. Love your blog!!

  9. Oh, interesting twist on an oldie but a goodie. I like the idea of printing it out on the watercolor paper. That’s kind of opened up the idea in my mind.

    I found your blog by way of “The Crafty Crow” by the way. I see above that Cassi mentioned she had posted about you.



    Oh no, no…thank you! I saw a big jump in my visits which were attributed to your site so thanks SO much! I added your blog to my Inspiration list. Your endorsement is very flattering and is very motivating. I’ll be sure to keep updating my site as often as I can. – Kathy

  11. Cassi

    Hi Kathy,
    I couldn’t find an email address for you so I thought I would let you know in a comment :) I featured your Kandinsky inspired oil pastel project on The Crafty Crow and I have a contributor’s button for you if you’d like. Your blog is a treasure trove of great ideas so I’ll be featuring more of them soon! Thanks so much, Cassi

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.