I don't tape either, I use Molly Hawkins watercolor paper.
I first demonstrate a graded wash. I also show them how you can lay clear water in a section and drop paint into it and then tilt the paper around and the paint stays just in that shape where you put the water. That really gets their attention!
Then we all do one landscape together -
First, we all draw a horizon line and a "mountain range" lightly on the paper. We leave about a 1" border blank. Then, together we all do a graded wash, just to the top edge of our mountains.
Then, while the sky is drying and we still have blue (cyan) in our brush, we skip down and paint a river which stops at the base of our mountains. We've already done perspective and showing curving roads and castle roads going into the distance, and this is a good application of that. By then the sky is dry enough that we can paint in our mountains (magenta). By then the river is dry enough that we paint yellow for the grass. (We sometimes add some foothills with the yellow on top of the damp magenta mountain) When that is dry we paint the farthest away mountains with the cyan and they turn violet. Some kids add even more distant mountains with more cyan, so they end up with blue, violet, magenta, and orange mountains, getting cooler as they go into the distance!
Then we paint blue on top of the yellow, making green.
That's the only painting we do step-by-step together. I want them to understand glazing, and this really helps.
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