Archives for category: Art Lessons

Inspired by the paintings of Matisse and other impressionists. I had students look at still lives of flowers, fruits, and birds. They created four thumbnail sketches and incorporated elements of these images or chose their favorite as a final drawing. We discussed borders echoing the colors and the imagery of the main picture. The students once again worked on their watercolor techniques- wet on wet, gradated washes, and kosher salt thrown in for good measure. Nice bright pops of color and happy images of birds, flowers, and fruit. Happy end of summer!

flowerwatercolor5                 flowerwatercolor10 copy

I had the students practice watercolor techniques: salt, saran wrap, alcohol drops, wet on wet and transparent washes. They did at least 7 circular color fields and stems. I asked them to vary their colors.

The following week they used a black sharpie to outline images and add details. The students ended up finding shapes within shapes and animated some of the images, almost like surrealism.

flowerwatercolor4 copy                flowerwatercolor11


I had the students look at boxed butterflies and natural elements that I checked out from the RISD Nature Lab, a visual library of natural history specimens. The students also viewed images of birds and flowers. We talked about spring and incorporating some type of border with natural elements. We also discussed how you can keep an image fresh, by not working it to death. Oftentimes, it’s best to have them start on the finished product (or on the good paper) only after their sketches are resolved, because, much like a writer working on a rough draft, if the sketch doesn’t show promise the final won’t either.

I liked the punch of the Prismacolor on the charcoal colored paper, Canson Pastel in Gray Tones, 9×12 paper was what we used.



I had my students trace stencils of hearts, tulips, and daisies onto colored papers. They used foil paper, gemstones, buttons and white paper doilies.

I scanned the images on an Epson printer.  I used light pink construction paper behind the doilies to create contrast. The colors of pink and red and a theme of love is a nice reprieve from winter!



japan_2 dolls copy

Had the students cut out paper dolls and use black marker and colored pencil to make face and hair. They created the kimonos by water coloring rice paper and them adding a design in colored pencil. Flowers were a popular background but I let them know they could do a pattern, animals, such as a dragon or a Japanese country scene. I scanned the dolls on white paper because it reminded me of the empty white spaces of Japanese prints of the 1800’s.