Thursday, November 26, 2009

Painting with tongue depressors and other stuff

I've been experimenting with a few painting techniques that I can teach to my students in preparation for the painting workshops I want to set up. I've gathered a bunch of different painting tools: tongue depressors, rulers, Popsicle sticks, combs, and an assortment of objects for making different shapes/lines, sponges, cardboard strips, and of course, paint brushes.

I found a picture on the Internet of cactus (google search) silhouetted against a sunset sky (image on the left-it's computer generated-Tuxpaint-it's free (see I'm trying to find techniques that kids can easily duplicate. The directions are simple: First, paint the yellow sun and then put down a line of red paint on the left side of the paper (I used a spoon). Add a few yellow and orange drops here and there on the paper and then using a tongue depressor, drag the paint from left to right. After that dries add the black foreground. I used acrylic black as the tempera tends to crack. The results are the image on the right.

I showed the picture to the kids to see what they thought of it. They thought it was pretty cool and then we moved on to the current lesson (see previous blog entry). On 4th grade student, Chris, painted his impression of the picture. Keep in mind that he only saw my example for about a minute. I was very impressed with his results.

Second graders were working with crayons (doing a crayon resist) and after seeing the 4th graders example (I was showing it off) one second grader decided to draw a similar picture.

Kids never cease to amaze me with their artwork. I can't wait to get the workshops all set up (am currently in the process of introducing color theory and having the kids combine colors to make their own secondary and intermediate colors. I'm also introducing the various techniques that can be used in the various workshop centers. I'll share some of the work (probably in January) that results from the creative craze I expect to see.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


  1. I did a lesson with my 2nd graders last spring about desert silhouettes. They drew their animals and cactus on black paper, cut and then pasted them on a watercolor background. It's a good alternative if you don't have the acrylic paint :)

  2. That's a good idea. I could use that idea as an option for my younger students. While their background is drying, they could work on the silhouettes.