One of the prettiest projects my third graders created this year happened during the very last days of school. I get rather desperate for ideas and organization towards the end of the school year so I had to scramble for a fast, two session project. I came across a jellyfish painting on my Watercolor Pinterest Board and it was love at first sight. My third graders LOVED this project. And I did too. I had all the supplies on hand (just barely) and stretched this relatively quick lesson into a 2-session project.
Here’s What We Did:
1. Each child painted a 12″ x 18″ piece of white paper (I like Tru-Ray drawing paper) with either a gradient of blue or red paint. I was a bit of a control freak here as I wanted to make the prep easy. I squeezed white, red, purple and black paint into 3 muffin-style palettes and blue, white, purple and black into two muffin-style palettes. Depending on where the child sat, he would either create blue or red gradient paper. That’s right. No choice. Feel free to allow a child to choose though. I did this as a matter of simplicity and quite frankly, laziness. I’m not ashamed.
Starting at the top of the vertical paper, the kids painted a strip of white paint. Without cleaning their brush, they dipped their paint brush into a little bit of red paint. They applied the paint below the white strip and blended. They continued on, dipping their brush into more red, then adding purple (this gives the paint the bright pink/fuchsia color and then finally black. We worked slowly and carefully with this step. I wanted it to last the entire 40-minutes.
2. After the child finished painting his gradient, they added white paint for bubbles. To do this, give each table group some white paint that has been watered down some. In order to splatter well, the paint needs to be the consistency of cream.
3. After the background paper has dried, it’s time to draw a jelly.
– Use white soft chalk pastel and draw a curved line for the top of the jellyfish body.
– Add a wiggle line across the bottom of the jelly for his underbelly.
– Add squiggly lines for the tentacles. The tentacles can be either squiggly lines or shapes.
– Using either white or another color of chalk, color in the jellyfish body and blend chalk with fingertips. It’s okay for the background to show through. This makes the jelly look translucent. (Shown in step #5)
– Draw as many jellyfish as you like.
4. The last step (this is shown in photo #4 not #5), use a black oil pastel to draw wiggly lines from the bottom of the paper up towards the middle. Add short lines that are slightly angled to create seaweed. The black oil pastel really offers a nice contrast to the white jellyfish.
Aren’t these the prettiest paintings ever? I love them!