Friday, August 8, 2014

Direct Painting with Kids

One of my favorite parts about moving from spectator to participant in the blogging world is that I can acknowledge others' lessons that have inspired projects with my kids. I came across this fantastic direct painting lesson by Patty Palmer on Deep Space Sparkle that makes painting fun, loose, and vibrant. Direct painting means that you mix your paints on the canvas or paper instead of pre-mixing colors on a palette before applying them. I tried this double-loaded painting technique from DSS with my summer camp kids (2nd - 6th graders).

Purple wings are created by double-loading the brush with blue and red.
We used primary colors, black, and white in our invented bird paintings. I have a collection of National Geographic bird photos and artist illustrations of birds to inspire my students. We started with a black paint outline of the bird and background details and allowed it to dry. Next, we used primary colors to paint the shapes in an alla prima / direct painting style. I introduced the adjective "painterly" to describe our style of painting in which brushstrokes show and colors are not fully mixed.

You get a variety of greens by taking different amounts of blue and yellow on your paintbrush.

This style of painting is loose and exciting--don't overthink it!
Are there other lessons you have tried from Deep Space Sparkle or other art education web sites? What other lessons or techniques should I try with my students? Leave a comment or send an email--I'd love to hear from you!