Large Animal Activity. This is a simple but endlessly versatile technique that is fun and useful for students ranging from the very young to older, more sophisticated classes. Different levels of student will gain distinct learning outcomes, and will be able to draw more from this technique as they progress through their education.
Place a small amount of watercolour paint in each well. You don’t need much – a dab the size of a five cent piece will be plenty – and then mix well with a little water. Use whatever colours you like, we suggest bright primary colours for younger students, but hold back on the white for now.
Using the template of the fish, trace around the template onto the watercolour paper. Don’t cut it out at this stage, but have your students write their name on the paper.
Wet a sponge or no. 6 or 8 Achiever brush with clean water and apply liberally to the paper. When wetting the paper, leave some patches dry at random. This will be used for interesting techniques a little later on. Make sure you really get the paper wet.
Using an Achiever brush, start adding colour, starting with the lightest colour – in this case, yellow ochre, and moving through to darker colours. Try and ‘dance’ the colour into the wet paper, painting in flooded blotches and avoiding lines or flat colour. This technique is known as painting ‘wet in wet’.
Choose a second colour and paint it close to the first, letting them merge. Take note of the way the shades blend to create a third colour effect, and demonstrate it to your students. This will help you appreciate the visual effect of patterns in painting. If the paint isn’t spreading and merging on its own, you may need more water on the paper.
Continue adding colours and merging until you achieve the desired effect. Make sure your students, especially the younger ones, don’t overdo it. If you mix together too much paint on the surface you’ll lose all the interesting colour nuances. Leave some areas white to create negative space.
When you are happy with the result, move the image to a drying rack to dry. If the paper is too wet in places you can dab it with paper towel or dust t with coarse salt to absorb the water, which can be brushed off when dry.
Using a Micador Stay Anywhere Permanent Pen, trace a border around the white patches of negative space. Encourage your students to recognise and highlight interesting shapes and patterns which occur where colours meet. Draw patterns of black dots throughout to add contrast.
Using white paint cut with a little water to make it more fluid, paint some white dots to counterbalance the black ones.
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Repeat steps 8 and 9 until satisfied, then carefully cut out the animal. From here the animal can be used for many different kinds of artwork. They can be hung, or mounted on the wall in a painted environment or a collaborative class project. Two animals can be sewn together and stuffed to make a toy or time capsule.