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Re: teaching watercolor to middle school


From: dawn stien (dawnstien_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jun 20 2003 - 02:41:33 PDT

Mike -
The best projects my students did were watercolor. We
looked at Edward Hopper and perspective.

The student grade watercolor paper we had at school
had enough weight (???) not to warp badly without
taping down the edges. Try out what you have access
to. I'm not sure what lb. ours was, but I might be
able to find out.

I only used the paper tape with my smallest class. We
simply didn't have enough boards for my 150+
students...It's easy enough to do - just measure the
edge that you want to put down and sponge the back of
it with water and put it on and give it a rub and move
on to the next side. You wont be able to paint on it
that day.

The first day I did a graded wash with them. We built
up the layers, a section at a time. So basically -
make an 8" (approx) grid and do a very light wash.
let it dry. For the next go over all but the area you
want lightest. The darks are made by adding layer
upon layer. If you don't let each layer dry, you will
pick up the previous pigment and make a light area
with each stroke...

I can't remember what I did during the time needed for
drying time, but I probably had them doing something.
I emphasized that it's easy to get darker, but very
difficult to get it lighter. I remember having to
teach some of them how to lift the color out on the
value scale though.

The next day we learned techniques together - they
made boxes (2x3" I think) and labeled what we would do
in each box. I showed them wet on wet, dry on wet,
wet on dry, and dry on dry. I had one square that we
made different color layers in - so we had to go back
and forth to complete the layers. Maybe I also taught
them to lift out color in one of these - I know there
were 6 boxes squares. I only showed one class how to
use salt.
I am a stickler about not using color straight from
the tube - they did a good job of mixing.

They were required to show me three techniques in
their actual project.

In college I had to do a project of six small
paintings of the same (geometric???) object. It seems
like I had to do one in almost a pointellist
technique, one that was lines covering the whole page
- but still the object had to show, another one seemed
like some kind of cross hatching thing. I'm not sure
what the deal was with those and I can't find them. I
made them into an accordian book. It was a very good
project for learning how to control the medium. Maybe
some of your advanced students can explore this type
of project.

If something isn't clear feel free to ask. I'm sure
we'll both get some great tips with all of the
veterans on the list though.
Good luck - Dawn

--- wrote:
> Hello,
> Can anyone give me some tips on how teach water
> color techniques to junior
> high. Not a medium I have a lot of experience with
> and I could use a run down
> of the basics. Like how to stretch paper and how to
> do a graded wash so that
> students can be successful.

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