Multimedia Crayon Resist Fish Painting
Do you ever wonder how we can begin to teach very young children how to communicate ideas through their art?
I believe it starts with giving them a tool box of artistic strategies through a series of fun, straightforward, hands on art experiences, such as this one! In this lesson, Multimedia Crayon Resist Fish, young artists will learn some ways to communicate a focal point to the viewer, layer a variety of art materials, and also come away with an original piece of art that is refined and whimsical.They will show emphasis on one main fish by making it large, adding patterns, and using a warm and cool color palette. Putting emphasis on a main subject tells the viewer what the artist thinks is important. Through this activity, young artists may come away with a better understanding of how to direct a viewers focus to the main subject.
Age Range: This lesson works perfectly for first graders, but I believe it would also work for 2nd and 3rd grade. This activity is perfect for both the home and the classroom.
Timing: I broke this project down into four 40 minute sessions, but you may combine steps if you have the time.
Materials we used: pencil, heavy drawing paper, crayons, watercolor paints, brushes, glue, scraps and found materials that could lend themselves to ocean plants and rocks
Session One: Discussion and drawing the fish
We looked at the painting The Goldfish by Paul Klee and had a discussion about these questions:
When you look at this painting, what do you look at first?
What did the artist do when he was making the fish to make your eye go straight to it?
Typical answers are: He made the fish big. He put it in the middle. He made the fish bright and the water dark.
These are all ways to create emphasis on a main subject in a work of art.
Next we read the book Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins to get ideas for fish shapes and patterns. We talk about how every student’s work will look different because we all choose different combinations of shapes and lines. Then I demonstrate how to pick a shape for the body and make it large, but not so large that there’s no room to draw anything else. I show how it looks if it’s way to small. I also demonstrate how to use all the space well by giving the fish an environment, and adding patterns to their fish. This is what my example and non-example for emphasis looks like in my classroom.
Crayon resist fish :
Next we do a color sort and separate out all the warm colored crayons which would be reds, oranges, yellows, and pinks. No cool colors or neutrals should be in the warm pile. If you are in a classroom setting, each table sorts their crayon box as a team. This will help them remember what colors are warm. It really makes a difference!
We talk about how Paul Klee used warm, bright colors to make his fish stand out and now it is their turn to color their fish warm colors. I demonstrate how to push hard on the crayon to get a bright color and a waxy feel. I show what it looks like when you don’t press hard so they can see the difference. (Note the lightly colored area below). When the main fish is finished they are free to color other objects any color. Lastly we add a black crayon outline to everything.
Crayon resist fish:
Adding Watercolor Paint
I open up this session by reminding them how important it is to press hard with the crayon so you get a bright color and a waxy feel. If they don’t color well the crayon will not resist the paint well. We identify cool colors as blues, purples, and greens, and talk about how they might remind us of ice or winter. I also provide a cool/warm chart to refer to. I demonstrate how to mix cool colors right on the paper by first adding a color like blue, and then adding a color like purple right on top while it is still wet. I show how they can paint right over the crayon. Next we have a little time to touch up our crayon before painting begins. For a great result, it’s critical that the crayon is well colored before the painting begins.
Crayon resist fish:
Adding Collage Materials
Last we add any found materials that could lend itself to ocean plants or rocks. I have a box I call “ocean scrap” which comes in handy surprisingly often. I throw scraps of almost anything green in there, such as paper, yarn, foam, and cellophane. I also collect scraps of sandpaper and neutral colored paper for this box. This is my table set up for this session.
It is important that students cut the scraps into a shape that makes sense for the collage. I show them that it just doesn’t look right to take a huge unshaped scrap from the box and plop it down anywhere. It has to make sense for the picture. I also show students how to cut thin strips of paper and curl them around a pencil to give it a 3D pop-out effect to their plants! This is a crowd pleaser. Lastly, artists are required to repeat a shaped scrap on the other side of the page to balance it out. We talk about how repetition makes art look good!
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