Sunday, April 7, 2013

Our Newest Wildflowers

     The hills of Southern California are blooming with all kinds of wildflowers right now, so 1st graders are painting their own this week. I'm starting with a short lesson on Impressionism through the book, Ish, by Peter Reynolds and a peek at artist, Yvonne Coomber's beautiful wildflowers (see HERE). Then it is on to a wet-on-wet watercolor wash followed by Q-tip and fingerprint flowers.
      This first step is blue liquid watercolor with a circle blotted out white with paper towel (for the sun, later). If kids want clouds, they will have to leave portions of their paper white.
      Next, comes more wash, with pan watercolors in yellows, reds and a mixture to make green near the bottom. After finishing the wash, students go back and lay in yellow in that empty white circle for the sun. It's fun to watch the colors run!!
      Part of this lesson is to have smaller dots for flowers near the horizon line, the ones that are far away, and larger dots near the bottom. We are using tempera (red, yellow and blue) for the flowers, applied with Q-tips. The larger flowers in the foreground can be made with fingerprints.
     Final steps are to add smaller dabs of color to the centers of the larger flowers (using a mixture of regular and florescent tempera. The photo below shows how kids use a watercolor brush dipped in color and struck against a small toothpick to spatter on small dots and give the piece a more spontaneous look. I find this method a bit less messy than to just let them fling away with the brush!!

     It seems that we always end up with some version of wildflowers in the Spring. Past years we have done these ( click here and here).

     I am anxious to see these latest wildflowers all displayed and will be sure to share when we are finished:))


  1. Wow. Very pretty. A great lesson for wet-on-wet techniques. Would love to see what the students have done!

  2. So fresh, makes me think springtime even though we have a while to wait for flowers here yet. The dots are really tempera, and not watercolor? They look like they spread and drip in a wonderful way, that I wouldn't expect tempera to do. Is it watered down? I'm loving your sample; can't wait to see what the kids' versions look like! Nice lesson - pinning!

  3. These compositions are a feast for the eye.
    I love them all

  4. Just did this project with my after school class of 4-6 year olds. It was a huge hit. We added some mountains below the sky and added some little flowers with the end of our paintbrushes. Thanks for the project.

  5. LOVE THIS!! After all of the rain we have had in ARKANSAS this is exactly what it looks like outside and these paintings so capture the beauty!! They are fabulous. I will definitely have to try these with my painting class this week outside!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love your idea of having the kids actually do their painting outside. Have fun!

  6. It was a success! Awesome and extremely easy.. Must try.