Although all grades will be creating works of art using watercolor layered on oil pastel drawing in the next month, the 2nd and 3rd grade students have already started and will continue to work in a focused and extended manner in watercolor. In the past weeks they have been practicing wet on wet watercolor technique.
With wet on wet technique, students first coat their paper with water before dotting in the watercolor. A natural tendency when painting is to attempt to use the brush like a drawing tool and to carefully 'color in' the drawing. There is a time and place for using watercolor in this way, but my experience is that watercolor truly comes into its own when it is used wet. In this method of watercolor application students learn to trust layering color and the surprising effects that can occur with a wet brush in a wet environment. They will see for themselves how colors blend and flow on the wet surface, what color looks like on color when layered on oil pastel and how watercolor resists attaching to the oily pastel layer.
Painting in the classroom can be a challenge expecially when things get this wet! During clean-up, it can get a bit loud and sometimes crazy trying to move dirty water containers to the sink and drippy paintings to the floor in a room of happy and excited students. Students work on learning self-control in this environment and it is hard--every painting day I see how much children love to mess about in smeary, wet stuff. We all do our best but accidents happen, so I apologize ahead of time for any students going home with spots of paint on their clothing!
The photos below are examples of why I find watercolor and oil pastel so inspiring and how, like a fingerprint, no two paintings are alike, especially when the artist is able to embrace the unpredictability of color on a wet surface. (Click here for reading on wet media.)
Details from 2nd and 3rd Grade Spiral Snail Mixed Media Works