Third graders just finished their Watercolor project, their first full unit of the year! This project focuses in on abstract art, watercolor techniques and the Creative Process as well as a bit of “doodling”.
First, as an experiment of sorts, students were introduced to over 10 different watercolor techniques including dropping in color, masking, glazing, salting and more. They practiced these techniques on small pieces of watercolor paper reflecting with their peers about why they did or didn’t enjoy using it.
After some experimenting, students began to imagine and plan out their abstract design. We talked about use of line and shape to create the design as well as what abstract means (as best we could). The classes decided that it would be best not to include any drawings we could recognize as something. On their plan sheet, students also had to cite which techniques they planned on using. They could circle from the list and label each section of their drawing to help them in the process. We also had a great discussion about how if they changed their idea on something, the plan wasn’t set in stone but it did allow them to think ahead and be prepared.
From there, I let students make their project a reality and begin painting. They didn’t want to stop! Painting so freely yet with a plan in mind made for a great couple of work days in which students could really explore their painting.
When students were complete done with painting, we discussed our thoughts and while many students were done painting they exclaimed that the work still felt unfinished. I was prepared for this, of course and introduced them to some sharpies that they could use on their painting either by outlining shapes, creating texture or doodling designs over top of some of their paintings. It’s a little nerve-wrecking to hand over what could potentially ruin 3 days of work BUT it paid off because what the students did with those sharpies was incredible.
The artwork is up on the walls in the hallway and everyone that sees it falls in love with it – which is completely subjective, I know but my 3rd graders came out of it really appreciating the Creative Process and many expect that to be provided for all projects because they didn’t feel disappointed by mistakes or they had the chance to think ahead and the work paid off.