Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The View from our School - Landscape in watercolour pencil

It was a hot, sunny August day, at the beginning of Term Three, a Thursday afternoon.  We'd been inside hard at it all week, and I decided, stuff it, let's go outside and draw the view!!

Yep, it was a blue sky day.  So we found some lino to press on, dished out the paper, found our pencils and rubbers and dragged our chairs outside.  I asked the children to find a suitable place in the bus park and look at the view.  While they were looking, I took a few photos as I have a few students who would struggle to draw as the view was so big.

I showed the children how to hold their hands up like a picture frame to decide where they would be drawing.

Some finished drawing that afternoon (we were out there for about an hour), but some used the photos I took.  They brought the photo they wanted up on the laptop, zoomed if necessary and drew then.  I have one boy who is obsessed with perfection, so for him, this was the way he felt safest to do this art activity.

The picture above is mine.   I try to do all the art activities so that the students have a chance to see the techniques I am teaching demonstrated.  We were using watercolour pencils to do this art, and I had the box of 12 purchased, one box between two students.  I also brought in my person watercolour pencils as it had more colours, in particular, white. 

I talked to them about what is furtherest away in the picture/view.  And that would be the sky, so I told them they needed to do this first.  I showed them how to colour darker further up, and lighter as it got to the hills.  I showed them how to outline the hills and to use a combination of dark green and dark blue, pressing lightly but colouring in solidly to get the 'far-away-ness' of the ranges in the distance. 

I showed them that has they did each layer of hills closer to the front to use brighter, lighter shades; to use different shades of green and degrees of pressure to show differences between the layers; to use different colours combined to create the differences between the layers; to change the direction they coloured in to show diffences between the layers; how to outline the trees.

Things like the wires on the fence near the front and the fences in the distance were encouraged to be done last, after the water was applied.

We actually mostly applied the water as we completed each layer.  This ensured that each 'front' layer went over the previous one.  I showed them how if you use less water the colour is darker, and the more water you use the lighter it becomes.

When it came to the paddocks and trees, how the brush was used was also important.  As with using the colouring pencil, the direction the brush went in was also important.

The students experimented on spare paper with how to make the trees appear in the bush parts of the landscape.  We also had fun adding in sheep, rocks and fences towards the end of the pictures.  These picture took a long time, and we came back to them over many weeks, just doing small parts at a time.  And some of the children were amazing at the small details.  Check out the fence in the picture at the bottom as an example of those small details that 'make' the picture.

I love what the kids achieved because they all tried their best and really listened to and watched the techniques that I demonstrated.  All their pictures have effectively demonstrated their techniques and show their impression of the view from our school.

What you will need:
  • pencil and rubber
  • A3 cartridge (not the thin stuff either)
  • Something to press on
  • A spactacular view
(and it's a good idea to take photos at the time to refer back to later)
  • Something to sit on (optional)
  • water colour pencils
  • fine brushes, water in an appropriate container
To finish, mount in an appropriate way before putting up on a wall to display.

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