Watercolor Seascape Collages

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Students began this lesson with a week of watercolor painting. We learned four painting techniques and each student created an assortment of painted papers in each style using warm, cool and “free” color schemes. We then cut, tore and drew on these papers to create an ocean scene with fish, coral, and other sea life. Each student chose the best examples their painted papers to make their fish with a focus on achieving a contrast of technique and color. There were compositional requirements that also had to be considered, such as showing examples of overlapping and “breaking the edge”, (having a partial or whole fish go off the edge of the paper.) It was also a requirement that each sea creature had to be based on a realistic observation. We used a variety of reference pictures and books on sea life to help us with that goal!

 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stefanie Eder
    Aug 21, 2019 @ 21:02:15

    Wow, your ideas are really great. I’d really like to do this project with my class in September. You mentioned four painting techniques. Could you shortly describe them please? Thank you very much!

    Reply

    • uamsler
      Aug 28, 2019 @ 01:32:39

      Instructions for Watercolor Techniques:

      Wash:
      1.) Wet a section carefully with clean water.
      2.) Saturate your brush with a strong concentration of any color except yellow.
      3.) Paint along one edge of the moistened shape.
      4.) RINSE BRUSH
      5.) Use a clean, wet brush to “pull” the color out and across the remaining shape with a back-and-forth motion, re-wetting the brush as necessary. The effect created should be a fade.

      Wet-into-wet blending:
      1.) Wet a section carefully with clean water.
      2.) Choose two analogous colors for this step. Apply “blobs” of each color here and there on the wet surface.
      3.) Blend the colors gently with your brush so that you create a “tie-dye” effect of swirled colors. Don’t blend so much that the whole section becomes a single color.
      4.) Important: You must complete all the steps before any part of the section dries!!!!

      Salt Effects:
      1.) Wet a section carefully with clean water.
      2.) Apply a base of color. You may choose a single color or wet-into-wet blending of two analogous colors. Don’t use yellow: (its too light.)
      3.) Sprinkle salt LIGHTLY over the wet area.
      4.) Do not disturb the section. The salt effects happen over time as the paint dries: It won’t be visible immediately.
      5.) Important: You must complete all the steps before any part of the section dries!!!!

      Saran-Wrap:
      1.) Wet a section carefully with clean water.
      2.) Apply a base of color. You may choose a single color or wet-into-wet blending of two analogous colors.
      3.) Scrunch a piece of plastic wrap on the wet surface. The contact of the plastic with the paper will create a mosaic-like effect. Leave the plastic wrap on the painting overnight.
      4.) Important: You must complete all the steps before any part of the section dries!!!!

      TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
      • Change your water frequently: mucky water makes mucky colors!
      • Choose Brush size carefully: Don’t choose a small brush for a big job, and vice versa.
      • Work carefully and neatly and keep each section distinct. If wet areas touch, they will bleed together!

      Reply

  2. Alyson Engelbrecht
    Sep 24, 2019 @ 21:26:00

    I love this idea. What grade level did you do this with and how many class periods was it? (hrs?) Can you tell me more about the process you had with the sea life? Were the sea creatures hand drawn or was there a template of some kind. Were the creatures drawn on the back of the finished painted pages or were they painted after they were drawn/cut out?

    Reply

    • uamsler
      Sep 24, 2019 @ 23:41:10

      All the work on this site is grade 7. Took about 10 class periods total. We start with 8-10 plain pieces of watercolor paper and spend several classes painting each with different WC techniques: salt, wet into wet blending, saran wrap, etc. Then, Kids drew sea creatures on plain old drawing paper then cut and traced their own drawings on their painted papers. (That’s why you see multiples of the same fish—they could trace their “master” on several different painted papers.) Interior details drawn by hand based on their original drawings. Several classes spent just on making and cutting out fish. When they collaged everything together, they did the ocean first and we set aside the cool color papers for that. (You have to plan out having enough cool colored papers, or at least predominantly cool colored— for the ocean background.) They also had to cut at least one fish in half to give the illusion of fish swimming on and off the edges. If you look closely, you can usually tell each side has a “half fish” with its matching half somewhere on the other edge!

      Reply

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