Tag Archives: watercolor

Beautiful Botanical Illustrations in Fifth Grade

I am constantly amazed at the skills of my students and this project was no exception … especially with regard to the boys.  Painting flowers isn’t generally their favorite thing to paint, but it takes a lot of patience to paint botanical illustrations and they were up to the challenge.

They were BEAUTIFUL!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We began with quite a bit of discussion about how the point of botanical illustration is to accurately record the plant in all its forms.  Botanical Illustrations began as a scientific study that turned into an art form.  Artists work very hard to exactly represent the plant, down to dissecting the pods, showing what it looks like underground (roots, bulbs etc), showing leaves,  flowers and other parts in all their different forms.  Then they “glaze” watercolor in many sessions to get the colors just right.

I had a wide selection of plastic fruit and flowers for the students to choose from and they started their drawing.  Of course, we didn’t worry so much about the roots etc, just the flower/fruit and a stem and leaf.  Given our already tight time constraints, they worked exceptionally hard to get as far as they did.

After the sketch was done, students used watercolor pencils to add the color.  We talked about the blending of colors and how that helps with low lights and high lights and showing where one pedal ends and another begins (or one grape …)  I asked them to work with a minimum of 3 colors … starting with yellow (which I believe to be the foundation color for nearly all things “natural”.  

Being fifth graders, they have a really good background in color from all our other classes and they did a remarkable job thinking about color mixing and how it would help or hurt their painting.

All in all, it was a great send-off project for my lovely fifth graders… they are off to middle school!  This is my first group that I have taught from first grade on up and I really believe it shows in their work!  Good luck to them all!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 5th Grade, Artist or Focus, Botanical Illustration, flowers, Medium, Paint, Watercolor, ~Blog~

Happy Accidents! Abstracts with Liquid Watercolor

brilliant purples using just red and blue

One of the issues when creating any piece of art, but particularly with watercolor painting, is how to salvage a painting or make something out of a problem when you make a “mistake” – especially with elementary students  You have spent all kinds of time and energy making your masterpiece and you can’t throw it away!  This is especially true in an art class where you have a minimal amount of time to complete your project and limited funds for supplies.

It can be hard to loosen up a little and “let go” of what you perceive as a huge eyesore in your work or to look at it a little differently and discover something new and interesting. This is what artists often refer to as “Happy Accidents”.  Students not only had great fun, but also learned to ” hide” a little something inside that fun (or accident) “Where’s Waldo” style.

This project also reinforces the principles of color and mixing primary colors in different strengths to make other colors.  It also reinforces the “mud” factor… too much paint only makes “mud”.  I like doing this project in 4th grade because they are just old enough to be respectful and careful of the supplies we use that are very tempting in other grades.  They aren’t quite “cool” enought to go crazy yet, either.  (-:

We used watercolor paper squares, straws and primary colors of  liquid watercolor (I like Blick Art for brilliant colors) I put in a little squirt/dropper bottle.  I also give each student a good length of paper towel.

After blowing to our heart’s content … we got some wonderful results and the students are soooo excited about all the items they “find/create” in the art.  The color blending is awesome too!  They are beautiful mounted on black paper and put on the wall.

Leave a comment

Filed under 4th Grade, The Art Room, ~Blog~