Inspired by James Rizzi, fourth grade art students drew landscapes or cityscapes in crayon, then painted their art with watercolors to create a wax resist.
- Poster board (I used light weight)
- Watercolor paints
Downloadable PowerPoint: Wax Resist Scapes
I love love love the first painting project with a class! For 4th graders, I have discovered that wax resist is magical. It introduces my students to watercolor, and gives their work some structure. The crayon outlines help to define what could easily be a messy first attempt at watercolors.
I began the lesson by having my students observe a painting by James Rizzi and discussing what types of personalities they saw in the artwork. They shared their answers and we talked about how the artist showed those personalities.
I got the idea for this project from Deep Space Sparkle. I wanted to broaden how my students could interpret the assignment, so I let them choose if they wanted to create a seascape, landscape, or cityscape. They got to decided if they showed personality by adding cartoon faces or doing something different, like choosing their colors based on what personality they were trying to show.
We spent the first day sketching and tracing over the sketch with crayon. I did a demonstration to show them how important it was to push down hard with the crayon. Then I showed them two watercolor techniques: wet on dry and wet on wet. It is always so much fun to wow them with the magic of colors mixing together!
In one class a student asked if they could do an outer-space scene. I said “Of course!” That idea took off like wildfire, almost half the class ended up doing something related to outer-space; it was a great opportunity to teach them how to use a compass. I was so excited by the results, I’m going to add it as an option in the PowerPoint for next quarter’s classes.
I felt like this project really hit the sweet spot of everything I want in an assignment. My students learned about an artist, got experience with new materials and techniques, and they were able to express themselves creatively in all kinds of different ways! This one is a keeper!
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