Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Columbus Day Painting

This little watercolor painting is a favorite craft of mine to mark the momentous occasion of "finding the New World".

Columbus Day is now celebrated on the second Monday of October, but in reality it is scheduled on October 12th.  1492 was a big year for the Americas and the World.  I know there is debate over who was the first to find this patch of land, but Columbus Day is what we recognize.  I won't go into detail about the voyage or it's impact, but I love to include an art lesson on perspective, primary colors, and painting with watercolors.

We created little ocean "sunsets" backdrops for our shadowed Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria to sail against. 

Here is what you will need to make these little vistas:
  • blue, red, and yellow paint-  I prefer watercolors because they blend nicely
  • 3 black silhouettes of boats-  small, medium, and large or big, bigger, and biggest
  • white paper-  we used printer paper, but they look beautiful on larger sheets of watercolor paper
  • water
  • brushes
  • glue
This is what we did to create ocean sunsets using watercolor techniques:

  • First, I cut 3 different sizes of ships from black paper.  I simply drew a basic shape of a sailing ship.  The details aren't to scale or technically correct, but the children get the idea.

  • Then, I gave each child a white piece of paper and had them moisten it with clean water.  Yes, they painted with water.  It will help the watercolors blend and run into each other.

  • Next, we began painting our ocean's blue.  We talked about primary colors and how they are combined to make new colors.  We layered red and yellow swaths of color and blended them to make oranges and purples.  This was our sunset sky. 

  • Finally, we attached our ships and discussed basic perspective.  Items look larger if they are close to you and smaller the farther away they get. 
Our pictures are dry and ready to take home.  What do you like to do to commemorate Columbus Day?


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