Thursday, December 02, 2010

Nutcracker Painting

Today my 4th-6th grade students enjoyed this project. Normally I don't bother with templates, but I did cut out three shapes from construction paper for each student: a large square for the torso, a small square for the face, and a medium rectangle for the hat. The watercolor paper was probably 11 x 14. (I say "probably" because it was loose and unlabeled in our art supply room, and I had prepared the templates for 10x18, only to have to do some tweaking five minutes before class!)

This project could easily be adapted for younger students, even non-readers if you show them the drawing Kathy posted on her blog. Almost any medium works; we used watercolor because it's a medium I hadn't introduced yet this year (and my goal is to use quite a variety of media this year).

For the fourth grade I gave each student the three primary colors, as well as black and white. They needed step-by-step guidance. The 5th/6th grade class followed my drawing on the dry-erase board and then I set them up with a wider variety of colors. I required a tinted background of any solid color, but other than that it was an open-ended.

Remember that watercolor paper is special; ordinary computer paper is too thin, and easily curls, which disappoints the serious young artist. Of course, I wouldn't buy high quality paper for any child under age 10 unless he's a prodigy. My motto is "buy the best you can afford that won't be trashed in a month."

I hope to remember my camera next week when they finish this project. I will post if my memory matches my intentions. (Doubtful.)

If you, your kids, and/or grandkids do this project, let me know. I'd love to see variations on the theme.

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