At the start of the school year, the first unit in Art is Watercolor. All students should learn to pre-plan their work and to manipulate watercolor paint. This is a tough medium because you can’t erase! However, the results are nothing short of fantastic.
First Grade starts with a Watercolor Resist Landscape. We discuss the horizon line, overlapping of forms, and simplification of form (bare trees look like Y’s!) and build up their landscapes from there. We learn that the concepts of landscape vs. portrait did not originate with computers! We layer Crayon over pencil to add extra color to their resists, and their finished landscapes look like a colorful candy-land!
Second Grade’s watercolor project is based on the work of Wassily Kandinsky
, the Russian artist credited as the first modern abstract artist. Students think about where they’ve been on their summer break, and we “take a walk.”” Using different crayon colors for each ‘trip,’ we create a ‘map’ of sorts which highlights the places we’ve been, as well as those we like to visit! Before we paint, we talk about line and how important it is to art. We discuss pattern and how it’s made with line, and define and discuss abstraction. With paint, our main goal is to keep colors and areas separate in order to keep colors as vibrant as possible. The results are beautiful and would make Kandinsky proud!
Third Grade creates another type of Watercolor Landscape. Also a resist painting, third graders begin to use tools like tracers, which is important because professional artists do, too! Students create a land of cottages, and embellish with many individual touches. Although each painting has a similar composition, individual choices like window shapes, color choices, and additions like mailboxes or pets gazing out of windows make each painting unique and special. Not to mention very colorful and a lot of fun!
Fourth Grade’s project borrows a bit from Biology. We look at leaves and the patterns and textures created by the veining on leaves. We discuss the change in color of leaves in the fall, and how the change relates to the color wheel. We separate our leaves from the background using cool colors, while we watercolor paint our leaves with warm fall colors. Finally, we highlight the fabulous veining of the leaves by fine lining with black marker. The results are colorful are beautiful!
Fifth grade also looks at leaves or sunflowers, and uses watercolor paint to make a wonderful, colorful painting. However, we introduce the concept of pointillism, and talk about Georges-Pierre Seurat
and other artists who painted with the dot! We use pointillism to finish our paintings, and the results are glorious!
Sixth graders create a landscape using watercolor and One-point perspective. We discuss the horizon line, perspective, various artists who created landscapes. Students learn to see the optical illusions created by buildings and other objects as they move towards the horizon line. Students use their new powers of observation to translate 3-D to 2-D. We finished our renderings with watercolor paint and fine liners.