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watercolor mural project

Watercolor painting has been an ongoing outlet for creative expression in my classroom. I originally offered them as an alternative to tempera paints because some of my students didn't care for the sensory squish tempera paints. My kids could play with watercolors all day. I decided to take on this medium as an extended study, and to create a watercolor mural that we could add techniques to as the weeks progressed. This is the general process of how things went:


Week 1: watercolor and brushes

We started with a simple wash of watercolors and brushes. I think what my kids liked best was trying out each and every tool and brush type to see the different marks they could make.

This is our collaborative mural after week one. I had the students begin with a lighter color because I knew we would be layering. You can see the darker areas where the students created larger pools of paint.


Week 2: watercolor and pipettes

On week two, I replaced our paintbrushes with pipettes. This was a huge hit, and it was a great activity for exercising their fine motor skills.

I thought it was interesting how with the pipettes, students were much more intentional about where they were placing color. You can see here that students were careful to try and fill in white spots they left behind the week before.


Week 3: spray bottles and wax resistance

On week three, I first offered students spray bottles filled with watercolor to test. This was our FAVORITE! They loved the sense of control they got from pointing and directing the stream of the water, and it also helped with their grip strength.


Next we experimented with what would happen if we painted over white crayon. This didn't provide the same instant gratification that the spray bottles did, but I did appreciate this technique in terms of observing their intentional mark making,

You can see the layers of color really start to build and tell a story or the children's journey.


Week 4: watercolors with lemon juice and salt

On our last and final week, we added salt and lemon juice to the mix. The students really enjoyed using the lemon juice with pipettes and watching how it changed the dynamics of colors. And they really liked creating big salt mountains that would absorb the colors they were working with.

And this was our final project. I may be biased, but I happen to think it is a very beautiful peice.

Lastly, I wanted to share the documentation panel I created for this investigation. I attached our mural in the center with Velcro tape, so that I could add and remove it each week as we added another layer to our project. I surrounded it with work samples, photos, and descriptions.

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