This 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.