I did a Japanese painting lesson with 1st graders once upon a time that was
We gave them grey paper (bogus paper?) and a yellow circle (sun) - maybe
they traced and cut their own but I'm not sure.
Then I talked to them about different brush strokes - thick & thin,
directional, etc. - I even made a chart/checklist of everything to try. I
also talked about how Japanese artists concentrate on their work and don't
talk, because they are trying to connect with their subject. I played
Japanese koto music and they painted (in black only) a collection of dried
grasses and flowers I had put in vases on their tables. I got the grasses
in the ditch and field behind my house - just dried weeds and such from a
They really concentrated - and the pieces looked awesome! (Really they are
pretty simple strokes to put together decent-looking flowers/grasses and
My favorite bit was later in the year a teacher came to me and said that
they had been talking in their class about things that are quiet. One
little dear piped up with, "a Japanese artist!"