Cardinals in Winter Art Lesson

My second and third graders created this beautiful Winter Cardinal art lesson, but it would be appropriate for fourth grade as well. It’s very easy considering how stunning it is. I didn’t create a handout for this lesson because you really don’t need one; just a quick demonstration on the whiteboard is enough to get the kids drawing.

Supplies:

Cardinal drawing

  • 12″ x 18″ white paper
  • Blue metallic tempera paint (Michael’s craft store will have this paint)
  • Pencil
  • Black, red, yellow and white tempera paint
  • Q-tips for snow

 

 

Drawing a Cardinal

This is the picture I used sourced from the internet as an example of a cardinal. Explain however, that it’s not necessary to draw the entire body, just the head and neck area. This is one of the few projects that the children used pencils. To be honest, I think it’s because I ran out of oil pastels! Start with a dot for the eye near the top and middle of the paper. Then, draw the beak. Once the beak is in place, it’s easy to draw the cardinal’s crown and head. After drawing the bird, draw branches and lines for twigs.

Painting the Background and Bird

Set out the metallic blue paint and paint the background first. This takes the most time; painting carefully around the feathers and twigs.
After painting the blue background, paint the red cardinal, then the yellow beak, brown twigs and then finally, the black mask and outline.

Final step: snowflakes using a q-tip dipped in white paint. I think this is what makes the whole piece stunning!

Note: I believe this idea originated from the fabulous Painted Paper Flicker Stream, although it may have come from a link. I’m terrible at organizing my bookmarks, so I apologize to the creator of this beautiful lesson. 

 

 

 

 

 

Second and Third Grade Winter Cardinals…

 

26 comments

  1. Nellie Mae says:

    I LOVE THIS!! I will be doing it next year for sure! I have already done winter cardinals this year. ;-)

  2. Mathmom and family says:

    I tried this activity with my 8 and 6 year olds today. We had quite a bit of fun. I love that they learned how to make brown by mixing colors. On their own they told me it is like mixing ketchup and relish on a hot dog. :)

  3. marisa says:

    I absolutley love your site! It's exactly what I was looking for. I live just south of you in Ventura. My oldest just started kinder this last fall and I want to start volunteering teaching art in her class and your site will be a tremendous help!

  4. sleepyhead designs studio says:

    Great results! I will be trying this in class! I'll post ours when we do it!

  5. alexandra says:

    great job with this blog! i used "how to draw a pig" lesson and it worked out great. i also love "giraffe can't dance". i'm new in business (i started teaching art in October) and very enthusiatic. i hope you won't mind checking out my blog :). keep up the good work!

  6. myletterstoemily says:

    gorgeous!

    what fun your kids must have!

    blessings,
    lea

  7. akiko says:

    Thank you so much for share your art and works. I always love to do art work with my boys and this is great to start!

  8. brenda says:

    How do you make sure the paint doesn’t blend? For example, my kids painted American flags once, and some of my students had pink stripes because the red and white paint mixed. Love your web site!

    • Patty says:

      Blending wasn’t a problem here, but if it was for you, then you just need to do one thing: make sure the red paint is dry before adding the white snowflakes. This goes with all paint. Also, make sure you use q-tips dipped in thick white tempera paint. if a child uses a paint brush that has water on it, the water will dilute the white paint and make it runny. Hope these tips helps. It’s a beautiful lesson.

      • brenda says:

        When the paint mixed before, I waited a week and the paint still mixed. Do you recommend that there should be very little water on the brush so the paint won’t mix? Thanks for answering these questions for me. It helps me a lot.

  9. [...] Division 5 worked hard on these paintings during the month of January.  They look fabulous!  Anyone passing by these in the hall always comment on how great they are. The background is metallic blue, but seems more white or grey in the post. I found the idea for these at Deep Space Sparkle [...]

  10. T.Dahlby says:

    What a great lesson! I did this with Grade 5 students and the results are wonderful. I hung them in the hall and have been getting rave reviews. Thanks so much!

  11. Just tried this project but changed it a bit. The results are on my blog and I thanked you too. So thanks!

  12. [...] I love these two colors as they are really a standout in some of the projects that I have done. The Cardinal in Winter is my favorite and you can see how beautifully the metallic blue paint [...]

  13. Jenifer says:

    I did this lesson today with 4th graders. They loved it and I loved the lesson, but I was disappointed with their painting abilities, or should I say lack of. I was utterly amazed they couldn’t paint within the lines they drew. How do you get them to paint nice crisp edges between colors?

    • Patty says:

      I think two things help a great deal…brushes and water (or lack of). Do you see the red brush in the picture? I use Big Kid Choice brushes. These particular ones have a blunt edge. It really helps define the line. Also, these brushes are great for smoothing the paint into an even color. Check my art supply list (side bar icon) to see where you can buy the brushes.
      Also, don’t use too much water. In fact, you could almost get away without putting any water on the table. It’s not necessary and as long as you add water to the paint before giving it to the kids, the paint should have a good consistency. Paint the sky first (no water) then paint the red bird. Water will make a mess out of the paint and will dilute the intensity of the tempera paint.
      Same goes for the black paint. Make sure they use a very very small brush. A number 6 brush on’t cut it! Instead of a marker, try black oil pastel. It’s the next best thing.

  14. Jenifer says:

    And I forgot one thing…They outlined with black paint and that was very difficult for them. Would it have been better with a sharpie? Is there a secret or technique to get them to paint nice lines? HELP!! Thanks!

  15. Kat says:

    I did this with 2nd graders and it came out GREAT! They were all impressed with their works of art.

  16. Staci Sterenberg says:

    I did this project over three class times with second grade just before Christmas break, then hung them up when we returned. The compliments and attention to the results were amazing! Teachers and parents were so impressed with the work! I actually had a third grader ask if they were going to do that lesson. Thanks for making such a great product easy and fun for the students!
    Chicago,IL

  17. Pat F says:

    Easy and beautiful – Just finished these with 2nd grade and they had no problems. We took it slow drawing step by step as I modeled on the board, and then painted slowly one color at a time – blue, red,brown, yellow, black. My twist – We used cardboard squares and dipped the edges in green paint to stamp pineneedles along the branches.When everything was dry we outlined in black oil pastel ( my students are not successful outlining with black paint we’ve tried. Don’t know how you do it) and lastly we added snowflakes. Thanks again

  18. Mandie says:

    This turned out wonderful in my grade 3 class, I got many compliments from the school staff! Thank you!

  19. [...] volunteer job for me since I love getting messy and doing art projects.  My new favorite blog is Deep Space Sparkle. Her website is truly amazing with the amount of lesson plans and information she provides. I know [...]

  20. elizabete veloso says:

    I’m so luckly to found you site! Thanks! :)

  21. Art Teacher Teeps says:

    I wanted to share with you a powerpoint to use on a Promethean Board about this project. If you would be interested in seeing it, let me know.
    Thanks and GREAT lesson ideas on your site!!!! You are an inspiration!

  22. Michelle Gifford says:

    I did this with my 2nd grade class today, and they turned out beautifully! Every student was so successful and proud. It may honestly be my favorite art project ever! You have the best art blog I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked at a lot of them. Thank you so much for your inspiration!

  23. leah says:

    I did this lesson with my grade 2s. Beautiful and easy. The class used black pastels to outline everything 1st and then we used the watercolour pucks for painting. The children are getting much better at independently choosing the right brush for each job and controlling the amount of water on their brush. I am always amazed when I try one of these art ideas…the results are fabulous!

  24. Daniele says:

    Hi!
    I am teaching elementary school for the first time this year after a transfer from middle school. Your site has been a tremendous resource for me and I thank you so much! I just completed this project with my students and it turned out beautifully! I just wanted to point out one small critique: cardinals’ beaks are black as fledglings, turn orange during immaturity, and are brilliant red upon maturity. I noticed this when showing John James Audubon’s painting of cardinals to the class. Thanks again for sharing another stunning and successful lesson!

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About Patty

Welcome to DSS. I'm an art teacher to 400 elementary kids in Goleta, California. This is where you will find a library of art lessons, handy PDF lesson plans and resources to make teaching art to kids a whole lot easier.
Enjoy your stay!

 

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