Friday, January 4, 2013

In Progress: 3rd Grade Birch Trees

The next few posts will be about what we've started and finished this short week after break.  Just before break, my 3rd graders began their second birch tree painting.  This time, we are doing winter birch trees.  On the first day, we reviewed how to create depth using this power point. In the same class, students taped out their birch trees.  

During the second class, which was also before break, they drew in their details and horizon line.

 For the first class back from break, I created a power point about how to paint a winter scene. It encourages students to look beyond the white snow and to "see" the other colors snow can look like from shadows and the reflection of light.  One class really seems to understand, the other not quite as much, so they will take a little more work.

I don't have photographs of their artwork yet to share, but this was my demonstration piece that I did to show students how to blend colors in the sky (to make a Northern Lights sky at night) and how to water down the black and blue paints to create the shadows on the snow.  I did a day sky demo for the other class but forgot to take a picture of it.

I plan on giving them two more class periods for this.  Most students only got the sky painted, if that because they needed to finish their details.  We need to pull the tape off our trees next class and add the birch tree lines, and then paint the shadows on the trees themselves.


  1. What kind of paper are you using? I found that the quality of 'student grade' watercolor paper has really gone downhill in recent years. And if the quality isn't decent, the tape can tear the paper coming off. Years ago I did a Monet lesson where we taped bridges and/or fences, and then pulled them off after painting fields of flowers. The tape tore the paper and we patched holes by making and gluing on construction paper flowers. One girl cried hysterically when her paper tore, and nothing could stop her. She still remembered it years later. But of course I had tested the project on different paper than I actually used. Bad mistake!

    1. There are two kinds of watercolor paper I have. The first kind is really feels thinner than the 70 lb. drawing paper I get from the boces bids! I generally use that stuff with the younger students on smaller scale projects. That stuff was there when I started teaching.

      I've started spending the extra money in my bids to buy the 90 lb. paper from the Boces bids. That's the heavier one they have and it's been working okay. It actually feels a lot like the strathmore watercolor paper you can get in the pad. Once in a while we have a small rip, but it's usually on the surface, not all the way through. I show then how to rip the tape off slow and at an angle so it doesn't rip, but if it starts to rip, I help them pull it off and tell them the tree looks more realistic it some texture! ;-)