My last class with my first and second grade students was on Tuesday. I only had 15 classes with them, so when the last class arrived, it felt very sad and short. Most of my lessons are designed to fit into 2, 45-minute sessions, so when I need a one session lesson, I really need to think about what can be completed within a short amount of time.
Watercolor can either take a very long time (6th grade watercolor Victorian Homes or Barns) or not. The difference is often the use of liquid watercolors compared to pan watercolors. When I want my students to experiment with mixing, I use pan. When I want color on a paper fast, I use liquid. You can vary the intensity of liquid watercolors by adding different amounts of water, so that the colors can be strong and dynamic or subtle and soft. I’ve used liquid watercolor on regular sulphite drawing paper but it really looks best on watercolor paper. I buy the cheapest, school-grade w/c paper I can find, so don’t waste this lesson on the good stuff. (Try Dick Blick Art Materials”>Canson 90lb Watercolor Paper Packs from Dick Blick)
For this lesson, of which the drawing tutorial can be found here, we started with a directed line drawing with oil pastels. It’s important to note that even though I say “directed line drawing”, I rarely give my students just one option. By now, they are used to many drawings on the white board. Often we’ll brainstorm what a beak can look like, how you could change the wings, that sort of thing. This technique works well for me as I want the children to learn to draw but also want them to be as individual as possible. Most of the time, I feel confident that I achieved this.
So after a quick drawing tutorial, I ask the students to follow along and draw their bird with one color of oil pastel. Then, select one or two (or three!) other colors to add feathers, color in the beak, etc.
Now the watercolors: Paint the bird first. I ask them to do this so that if we run out of time, at least the bird is painted.
That’s it. Easy-peasy lesson.
First Grade Efforts: Aren’t these the cutest, little birds you’ve ever seen?