Friday, March 9, 2012

Watercolor Oceans

Time for a new skill for my fabulous Middle School kids. They can draw and design. But can they feel comfortable with watercolor? Well, not at first but hopefully we changed all that last week.

One thing I've discovered is that until they play around with a new medium most kids use all kinds of paint the same way. Thick. Now here's the thing; once you master watercolors you can use them anyway you want. Go translucent, go opaque. Go to town. But the middle school kids needed to really understand what watercolor was about. Colors covering other colors or blending in or forming drips. Translucence. Cool unexpected things happening on your paper. And learning to control it as much or as little as you like.

Undersea Plant. Love the brushstrokes on the leaves!
I had them pick ocean scenes because I thought that would give them a limited palette to work with and's an ocean scene? What's not to love? They looked at many photographs for inspiration.  They picked sea creatures and closeups of a plants.

Horseshoe Crab
I had them do a drawing on the watercolor paper in pencil before they started to paint. I encouraged them to experiment on scraps of watercolor paper but they wanted to dive right in. Fine, so long as they played around a little on the painting.

It took a lot of convincing for them to realize they could leave areas unpainted, could lift color off once it was placed down. One student was really determined to paint over the pencil lines but I convinced her that the underpainting and the light coming through was what brought her piece to life.

Fabulous work, artists!


  1. I just voted again! You've pulled into the lead over at Circle of Moms!

    Let's hope this doesn't turn violent.

    Awesome horseshoe crab painting.

  2. I love these watercolor paintings!