Tag Archives: watercolor

Easy Lesson in Perspective

perspectiveThis week, our kindergarten/first grade co-op class worked on lessons based on the book Three Names by Patricia Maclachlan. The watercolor illustrations offer a lot of art lesson possibilities. Our class chose to work on project about perspective, and it turned out to be a fun exercise that can be adapted for students of various ages.

For this lesson, you’ll need:

  • One sheet of watercolor paper
  • Masking Tape
  • Piece of cardboard (a little larger than the paper)
  • Watercolors: green, blue, brown, grey or black, and yellow ochre (golden yellow)
  • Watercolor brushes
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Paper Towel

To begin, tape the piece of watercolor paper onto the cardboard backing. When your student paints on the paper, it will tend to buckle; by taping it to the cardboard and allowing it to dry completely, it should flatten out again.

Next, have the student draw a straight HORIZON LINE using a pencil and a ruler. The horizon is the line where the land meets the sky.

Now, instruct your student to choose a point on the line to be the VANISHING POINT. The vanishing point will just be a dot on the horizon line; it’s the place on the horizon where the road will seem to disappear.

Next, have your student draw two diagonal lines from the bottom of the page to the vanishing point. The resulting figure will look like a triangle. This is the road going far away into the distance.

Your child might choose to add other objects to his picture, such as trees or animals. Remember, though, that the closer the objects are, the bigger they will appear to be; the further away they are, the smaller they will appear.

To finish the picture, paint in the sky above the horizon line, and the land on either side of the road green and/or brown. The road could be golden yellow if it’s a dirt path or grey if it’s a highway.

Once your student has finished, be sure to hang up the painting or put it in a portfolio. A job well-done needs to be displayed! 🙂

The Glorious Flight Art Activity


My son Luke is in a K-5/First Grade class in our home school co-op. The curriculum the class is using is Five in a Row by Jane Lambert; this curriculum centers math, science, social studies, and art lessons around classic picture books. Recently, we read The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen, which describes the early attempts of Louis Bleriot to build and fly an airplane. Though our art activity wasn’t listed in Five in a Row, it worked well with the class. Here’s what we did:


  • Watercolor Paper (inexpensive watercolor paper is fine)
  • Cardboard (a little larger than the watercolor paper; one piece per student)
  • Masking tape
  • Pencils
  • Watercolor paints – blue and green (in tubes or pan sets)
  • Styrofoam plates (if using paints in tubes)
  • One brush per child
  • Napkins or paper towel (to clean the brushes)
  • Cotton balls or poly fiberfill
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • White school glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Coloring page of a small airplane

Before you begin, tape a piece of watercolor paper to each piece of cardboard. This way, if you’re student enjoys applying water or watery paint to the paper, the edges will stay down even though the paper might buckle.

Have each student draw a horizon line, marking where the sky will end and the ground begin. Put this line low on your paper — you’ll want a lot of sky showing for this picture.

Give each student a small amount of blue paint. If you’re using watercolors in tubes, give each child a Styrofoam plate for a palette. Place the blue paint on the plate. If you’re using a regular pan set of paints, instruct the children to co

Next, give each student a small amount of green paint. Instruct them to paint the land green.

While the paint is drying, provide the children with a picture of a plane from a coloring page. You can find images to use on the Internet. You might even print off several different planes and let the children choose their favorite. Have the children color their planes with crayons and then cut them out.

By the time the students are finished coloring, the paint on their papers should be dry.  Use the white school glue to attach cotton balls or poly fiberfill on the sky. These are the clouds.

Now everything is ready for the plane!  Have the children glue their planes to the sky they just created.

Place the finished artwork where everyone can see — and enjoy!

Painting the Perfect Pumpkin

DSC_0007_jYesterday, I had an art class meet in my home, and I felt like I was well-prepared. I had a plan in place — each student was to create a painting of a pumpkin in watercolor. I had purchased some small ornamental pumpkins from the store, enough so each child could have one. According to my plan, each child would draw a pumpkin on her paper, then use some watercolor techniques to fill it in.

I had thought it through before we began: the students would spend a few minutes drawing the pumpkins, then they’d paint the background a deep, fall-ish brown color with a little green mixed in, and then they’d paint the pumpkin a vibrant orange. The pumpkin would really stand out against a dark background.

But…the one thing I didn’t have on hand was an example. And so I merely explained the plan to the students, and they started to work. Some drew their pumpkins quickly, others more slowly, but they all worked diligently.

Then the first student was ready to paint. I explained my “vision” for the background again, and she replied, “Can I just make a blue sky with some green grass?”

“Well,” I said, a little taken aback, “I guess so. Let’s get out some other colors.”  We did, and she painted a lovely blue sky and green grass. Then she painted her pumpkin.

The next student, who loves horses, asked if she could add a horse to her picture. “Well,” I said, again a little unsure, “I guess so. Let me find a picture of one you can look at.” I pulled out several photos of horses, and she chose the one of a horse laying on the ground. She drew the horse with its neck outstretched, sniffing the pumpkin.

The third student, inspired by the horse photos, decided to add one to her painting too. Her horse was looking over a fence and licking the pumpkin. There were beautiful yellow flowers in long green grass in front of the fence.

The fourth student decided to try my idea with the browns and greens behind the pumpkin. It was a wonderful painting too, but not because of my idea. Like the others, it was an example of the creativity of the young artist. When I stepped out of the way, the students’ personalities came shining through — as each one created the perfect pumpkin.