Saturday, July 30, 2022

Seashore Path in Pastel

Let's take a walk to the seashore!

This week we created this cozy little path to the beach using oil pastels on black construction paper.

We started by first establishing our horizon line. We did this with a strip of blue painter's (masking) tape. Then we filled in our sky area with our sky colors, such as blues and violets, which we softened by blending with our fingers. 

Then we added swirls of white and softened them again. We then removed the tape and filled in the distant ocean colors at the horizon line, moving forward with lighter blues and some distant white waves.  

Then we added the larger waves nearer the seashore, starting with darker blues, then the foamy white and lighter blues along the tops and blended slightly with the fingers. 

Various blues were then added in horizontal strokes below the waves to indicate water lapping onto the shore, with white edges along the water's edge. 

Once the water was done, the sand was added using the lightest shades of tan and fleshtone colors. This was best done by stroking with the sides of the pastels, not the tips, on the paper. Then we added little fence posts, sea grasses of varying greens and yellows, and blue shadows in the sand. 

Finally, we added very realistic footprints in a darker brown and a few birds flying in the distance (Sharpies).

I don't know about you, but I would like to visit this place!

We did this project slightly differently back in 2016; we did not include the horizon line. You can take a look at the results right here. Which one do you like best?

Friday, July 29, 2022

School of Fish in Watercolor

This week we created a school of brightly colored fish with a technique called watercolor batik -- using w/c masking fluid.

This lesson was a fun way to learn about repetition and pattern, as well as different types of focal points and how to use them in a work of art. 

To do this, we created a school of fish with an outsider in the crowd!

We used fish templates: one for our outsider or "oddball", which was drawn first, and another to trace several times for our school of fish - because, of course, they should all look alike. Some artists chose to draw their own outsider, such as the sea turtle above.

It was important to use overlapping when drawing the fish so that some of them appeared in front of or behind other fish. We drew lightly because the pencil lines would need to be erased later on. 

We also added a few details to the fish, remembering that if you add a detail to one fish, you need to add the same detail to all of the other fish in the school!

The next step was to paint over all of the pencil lines with masking fluid. We used old brushes for this task because masking fluid often ruins your brushes, even if you wash them out right away. 

The masking fluid acts like masking tape - it keeps the watercolor off of the paper, even when you paint right over it. It keeps the colors separated, and it can be used to paint bubbles in the background, which stay white! 

The masking fluid is ready to paint over almost immediately - it dries fast. So the next step was to paint the fish. We found that a great way to do this is to paint one fish first, then copy it when doing all of the other fish in the fish school. 

The outsider is painted in different colors or even complementary colors to act as a focal point. So, it could be a different shape, size, or color, and/or it could be swimming in a different direction. 

Finally, the watery background was painted in, and after all the paint was dry, the masking fluid was removed. This is done by simply rubbing it off with your finger and tossing the residue into the trash. It took a while to do, but even the youngest artists got the hang of it. Then we used a big soft white eraser to remove any remaining pencil marks. It pays to draw lightly!

The last step was to add a few details with a Sharpie. All of the artists added detail to the eyes, and a few more added additional outlining and other details as well. 

To see an earlier post about this beautiful painting project click here. We have also created watercolor batik fish using white oil pastel instead of masking fluid. Find out how we did it here

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Silly (Sneaky) Seagulls


If you've ever tried to have a picnic at the beach, you know that the neighborhood seagulls will try to steal your lunch.

So we decided those little rascals would be a perfect subject to illustrate as we continue with our Oceans & Seashores theme this month.

We started with a pale sky-blue background (12" x 18" sulfite paper). We filled in the top 1/3 with our sky using soft pastels, and some artists added a few seagulls in the distance. 

We then set it aside to create a wet-on-wet watercolor ocean on a sheet of 9" x 12" watercolor paper. We added course salt for texture, and let it dry. The ocean could be made first for more drying time.

We observed a few photos of seagulls and then drew our own on a sheet of white drawing paper (9" x 12") using charcoal pencils and soft pastels, which we smudged and smeared to create shadows. 

We also added a silly detail or two, such as sunglasses or a scarf. We even had a pirate! When the seagulls were completed, we cut them out.

Next, we glued a 9" x 12" piece of brown or tan paper to the bottom of the blue background paper to create our sandy beach. Then we tore the ocean paper to create a few waves and glued it to the center section of the blue paper, overlapping the beach edge. We added some torn sand paper here and there, including a mound for our seagull to stand on, and marked it up with white oil pastels. We also glued on a few rocks, seashells, and bits of a snack wrapper (we ate the snacks). 

The last step was to glue the seagull into the scene and cut out a picture of one of the snacks from the wrapper, such as a cookie, to glue it into our seagull's beak. 

For more about this project, see our earlier 2019 post.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Tropical Island Sunset

Imagine visiting a tropical island paradise, lying on the beach, listening to the gentle waves, and watching a beautiful ocean sunset. 

That's what we did... and then we painted it!

The stunning sunset colors in these paintings are not actually paint at all. 

Artists instead covered the paper with soft (sometimes called chalk) pastels, starting with purple at the top, then pink, red, orange, and ending with yellow in the center. Then they reversed the order of the colors to the bottom of the paper to create a mirror image for a beautiful ocean reflection.

The next step was to dip a finger in white tempera paint and smear it over the colors, top to bottom. Like magic, the white paint adds texture and a bit of drama while becoming the color of the pastel! They carefully blended one color with the next, wiping fingers often to avoid making 'mud.' 

While the paintings dried, our artists practiced painting a tropical island silhouette in black tempera on plain white copy paper. They wanted to learn how to depict things like a palm tree, palm leaf fronds, sea grasses, birds in flight, and distant islands.

Then they painted their tropical island scene right over their dried sunsets. So beautiful!

Our artists ranged in age from 6 to 13. We have also created these Tropical Sunsets at a previous Summer Art Camp. 

This is an expanded version of an Art for Kids: Ocean Scenes painting idea, in which black cutouts are used for the silhouettes (probably an easier option for younger children).

Monday, July 18, 2022

Sea Otter Mamas

Angel's Sea Otter
A Sea Otter’s Life

Cute little furballs – so fuzzy yet sleek.
   What do they do all day – let’s take a peek!
Life in the ocean, thick fur keeps them warm
   Good grooming’s a must, it works like a charm.
Diving for sea urchins, starfish and crabs,
   Abalone and barnacles, mollusks and squid.
On the belly, a smorgasbord layout - so good!
   Tap-tap-tap with a rock cracks open that food.
Naptime comes often, wrapped up in green kelp
   Anchored from floating away, a great help!
Rafts of sea otters with flipper-like feet,
   Rolling and playing, keeping paws dry and neat.
Mama keeps pup on her belly so warm,
   She dives and his tireless cries call her home.
This is what sea otters do every day.
   These cute little furballs of Monterey Bay.

Galilea's Sea Otter

Here's another Oceans & Seashores-themed Summer Art Camp art project! These Sea Otter Mamas and their little pups are resting in beds of kelp along the California coast. This fun mixed media project helped kids learn more about this precarious species that was once hunted almost to extinction for its magnificent pelt.  

Our young artists learned to appreciate these amazing little animals and how they have managed to reestablish themselves along the California coast (with the help of humans dedicated to their preservation, such as the Friends of the Sea Otter and the Monterey Bay Aquarium).
Mikaeyla's Sea Otter

Campers used oil pastels to draw their mama otters and to depict their cute little faces, furry bodies, front paws, and flipper-like feet. Then we cut them out, created little pups from a scrap of the same paper, and bent up the paws to hold the pup and keep it safe. 

We made a nice length of kelp for our sea otters to float in (or on), folded up their flipper feet, and added some glue dots the the back of the pups for additional 3-D cuteness! Then we glued everything to our watery background and added a few ripples and waves.

Take a look at our previous post, Adorable Sea Otters, to see how older children created their Mama Sea Otters.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Narwhals and Tidepools

We just finished our Oceans & Seashores Art Camp and had so much fun!!! 

First, we learned all about Narwhals, the Unicorns of the Sea, and then we painted them!

Did you know? A Narwhal's horn is actually a tooth. Mostly males have one and just a few Narwhals have two of them and some have none at all. 

Scientists don't know what the horns are for. 

Our Narwhals were drawn with pencil and outlined with Sharpies. Then they were colored in with oil pastel, allowing some of the white paper to remain white. 

The next step was to paint over the Narwhal with watercolor - one chosen color only, and watch the oil pastel colors pop through! This is called watercolor resist.

After the paint was dry, we added blue (or turquoise blue) watercolor to the background. We sprayed it lightly with water to keep it wet and sprinkled some course salt over it to create a watery home for our little Narwhals!

We have painted Unicorns of the Sea before. Take a look at our previous post right here.

We also made our own tidepools! 

This time we drew our sea life with wax crayons. We also use shimmering crayons to draw sparkles on the water. 

 And again, we watched the colors resist the blue watercolor paint that we painted over it. 

After the paint was dry, we added a few additional details to our sea life, then we cut an interesting shape around the pool. Finally, we filled it up with a sandy beach! 

That part was easy. We just painted the white area around the pool with white glue (mixed with a little water) and sprinkled sand over it. Then we glued on a few tiny sea shells to complete our little tide pools. 

Thanks to Buggy and Buddy for  this awesome art project idea!