Friday, March 15, 2013

Tranquil Landscapes - Watercolor - 4th Grade


Peaceful...  Calm...  Tranquil...  That's how each and every one of these watercolor landscapes appear.  Fourth grade is finishing up their icy landscapes.  I was inspired by these beautiful pieces from Arteascuola and Color, Collage and Much More.  

We started the first class by creating the backgrounds.  The students used liquid watercolor and salt to get their gorgeous skies!  I had the kids paint them about 3/4's of the way down the paper since we were going to be covering some of it.  We used blues and purples and black.

I then had them paint a piece with only green, blue and black.  The students created a watercolor wash for this section that would be cut into the mountains, glaciers or some said they looked like a forest of pines. 

For the ice, I demonstrated how to use plastic wrap to create this very cool, crackled look.

I had never done this technique with my students so I played around with before instructing them how to do it.  We used the liquid watercolors in blues and purples (the green is only in this example for all of you).  I told them they must work quickly because if the paint dries or absorbs into the paper this technique will not be very effective. 

I ripped off enough pieces of plastic wrap ahead of time and had it on their tables and ready so they could use it as soon as they were ready.  As soon as they laid the plastic wrap on I had them scrunch it around for a few seconds.  I stressed that they were not to take the wrap off!  Some still did and had to re-start! 

As soon as the pieces began to dry the plastic wrap fell away from the paper. I saved them and had other classes re-use them.

The final item was to choose an animal, sketch it and add it to their landscape.  

Can you tell that penguins were popular?! 
There were also polar bears, caribou and white seals.  

I love how the pieces turned out!
I am grading them quickly as the kids are dying to take them home!

Have a great weekend and look out for those Leprechauns on Sunday! 

Mrs.C  :)


  1. These are really gorgeous. What type of watercolor are you using? They look like liquid?

    1. Thanks! Yes we did use liquid watercolors. I only started using them this year for a few projects. The students are still having trouble controlling them because they are so fluid. They are used to using the pan watercolors and can control the flow of the paints much better. If we are using them for painting large areas(like this) they are okay with them. The techniques show up really well when I use the liquid watercolors. I like that i can control the strength of the colors. :)

  2. Beautiful textures in these! Pinning! :)

    1. Thanks! Take a look at the two sites I linked that inspired them! Theirs are beautiful! :)

  3. Thank you for this idea. I have used strong dye instead of liquid water colour. The children added water so the colours would wash together. I have checked out the other sites. I will link to you when I write my lesson up, for sure.

  4. These are gorgeous brilliant landscapes. I love your liquid watercolor storage idea, where do you get the plastic container and lids?

    1. Thanks! I order the plastic paint cups in my yearly order from School Specialty- I order from their Sax Art Supply catalog. They're so much better than the paper paint cups because I can store paint in them for several weeks while we are working on a project. It makes setting up and organizing supplies for a lesson so much easier! :) I'm sure they are sold in most art supply catalogs.