Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wet on Wet Watercolor Washes

An Art and Science Lesson for Grades 1-3

Experiment with colors to discover what happens when two primary colors are combined.

Watercolor trays & brushes (Crayola for low price and vibrant color)
White poster board cut into 3-4 inch squares (3 per student)
Plastic under working spaces
Water cups for rinsing brushes
Large poster board for the secondary color "quilt"

Visual Art (creativity, color)
Science (scientific process, color)


  • Demonstrate wet-on-wet watercolor technique: Wet the front and back of a poster board square by painting it with water or dipping it briefly in a water basin. Make a design with a primary color, leaving some spaces blank. Add another secondary color filling in the spaces and overlapping some. Be sure to rinse brushes thoroughly when changing colors.
  • Give instructions and post the instructions in the classroom for student reference during the project: In the first square start with yellow and add blue. In the second square start with yellow and add red. In the third square start with either red or blue and add the other one. If large pools of water/paint form on the painting, they can be removed (soaked up) with a dry piece of tissue paper. 
  • Discuss what happened as the colors ran together. Point out and explain the concept of primary and secondary colors. 
  • Clean up
  • After the watercolor squares have dried, glue or tape them to a large piece of poster board (like a quilt) or use them borders, etc. 
  • Lead the students in a discussion about how their paintings made them feel. 

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