Learn watercolor techniques in this winter silhouette art project


Winter Tree Silhouette Art Project


As soon as I saw this picture on Pinterest, I was transported back to my childhood.

I grew up in a rural area of Prince Edward Island where the land is basically flat with just a few hills. Perfect for cross country skiing. My bestie, Leslie and I would snap on our skis and spend hours searching for the smallest of hills to ski down. Often we would ski until dusk when the winter skies turned a blistering pink. Such a glorious contrast to the barren, snow-covered land.

It's not easy describing how desolate and beautiful this landscape can be to an 11-year old So Cal kid, but by the looks of their artwork, they totally got it.

I created a detailed lesson plan describing the process of introducing and teaching this multiple watercolor technique lesson. It looks rather hard to do but don't be intimidated. It's one of those projects that's totally doable even if you've never taught watercolor before.

Learn watercolor techniques in this winter silhouette art project winter-tree-gallery

I must admit. As we embarked on this project, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I was a bit worried that the children might not find the project engaging enough.

I was so wrong.

It was almost as if the children knew that if they finished this piece, they would be proud. Even the most art challenged students created an incredible piece, full of personality and style.

Truth was, I was proud. The collection welcomed visitors to the school and brightened our sunny February days even more.

Have you done this lesson? I'd love to hear how the instructions worked for you or if you tried a new technique. 




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  • Jill

    Stunning! Did you use white watercolor paint, or leave the paper white for the snowy parts?

  • 1220holomah@gmail.com

    I purchased this great art lesson and was amazed at my children’s work! Oh so wonderful! And they LOVED it. I have a small group of kids (2nd – 5th grade) who meet in my garage every other Saturday for two hours. This was their first time painting without first drawing. They did a magnificent job! One student wrote on her artist statement that this artwork meant that she could do anything that she put her mind to do. She also said that it first looked very difficult, but that it was really easy! Then she wrote a brief story about the relationship of the glistening sun and the beautiful tree, how they became special friends and together could do whatever they wanted to do! Thank you! Thank you for your great lessons! I am not an artist but your lessons have shown me that I can do whatever I want to do! We all are happy campers! We are the ” CAN” bunch!

    • Patty Palmer

      Thank you SO much for sharing this! Truthfully, when I did this lesson with my 4th graders, I was unsure if the process would be too hard. There wasn’t one kid who didn’t love it. They were so proud of themselves!

  • 1220holomah@gmail.com

    Just to add, I used all of your suggestions and elaborated on the concepts of perspective, silhouette, horizon line etc. I created a power point of the lesson and used it with my computer, projector and large screen to teach my children. This, along with my prototype art work works very well. It is a lot of work to create the power point lessons, but it is very effective. I also use a large blackboard for directed drawing even though the steps for drawing are in the power point. Many times the children want to go back to a slide for clarity. This method saves me from doing a lot of printing, I can present so, so many examples of art for their observation. I really am perfectly thrilled at this experience, not only for my kids, but for me! The “I CAN” bunch!

  • 1220holomah@gmail.com

    Patty, do you have any other painting lessons where the children paint without first drawing?

    • Patty Palmer

      Usually they draw something even if it’s abstract art. But making painted paper is a project that doesn’t require drawing, as is my Jackson Pollock painting with Kinders.
      Are you looking to do a non-objective painting?

      • 1220holomah@gmail.com

        Jackson Pollock would be great. I had planned for them to experience his style in a manner that he created it – with big paper! I want to let the kids be outside in the spring/summer on my huge driveway. Fun huh? In an attempt to answer my own question, I remembered the images/shapes of Stonehenge in England. Painting a wondrous sunset with the silhouettes of Stonehenge in the front reminds me of Winter Silhouette. The story is fascinating as well. I want to work on this. What do you think? Incidentally, I love how you teach teachers who are not art teachers. Thanks so much!

  • 1220holomah@gmail.com

    Thanks so much Patty for your encouragement. I’m working on the lesson right now. I am experiencing a stay in the hospital so I have tons of time to plan! I did three lessons on Van Gogh, a Black History Lesson on The Migration Series by Jacob Laurence. And now I am fascinated with Stonehenge! I create all of my lessons in the power point format and I project them on a screen in my garage. It is time consuming in the creation time, but I get to give the kids great information which we review from time to time. When I do Stonehenge, I’ll let you know. Thanks again for teaching non artists to teach art to children! I am having SO much fun!

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