Sunday, October 24, 2010

Majestic Mountains

I went to Telluride last month and was totally inspired by the mountains.  I decided to do a mountain focused lesson with my students and really emphasize the textural nature of them and how their contour is far from the zig-zaggy points usually drawn to represent them.

This year my classes are only 30 minutes and I travel to the classrooms.  I am limited on time, set-up time, clean-time, materials, space, everything pretty much.... so I have to really decide what I want to accomplish with the students.

This project took 3 30 minute sessions and I am so excited about the results!

First class we did a "watercolor science experiment" and discussed how to create what looks like texture in a picture and washes.
The students painted washes on watercolor paper with blue/purple/brown/black (AND i was able to use up my older watercolor sets that had those colors left!).
We sprinkled salt on the paint and placed saran wrap across parts of the paper to create textures in the paint as it dried.

Day two I printed out some examples of mountain ranges so that the students could examine various mountain contours. 
On OAK TAG the students drew a mountain range contour line across the top of the paper. They put a star on that side so they used the correct side each time. 
They cut along the line then traced the stencil on to the watercolor paper and cut out the mountain shapes  out of their painting. We also saved the cut off piece.

Day three we colored pastel along the edge of the oak tag stencil.
Then using a folded paper towel we brushed the pastel on black paper to create a colored silhouette in the night sky. 

We attached the black paper background,watercolor mountains, and smaller watercolor cut out together by stapling them together.  Then we used toothpicks to dot silver paint for stars in the sky.

Every single one of them was a great success!


  1. Hey...I found you! I posted my attempt at this and linked you to my site. I hope that was ok. I think your mountains came out better than mine. The suran wrap would not make an effect like yours did. I still liked them, though. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Great idea! They look beautiful! I did something similar but froze liquid watercolor in popsicle trays so students painted with watercolor ice. The salt makes them melt quickly and you can have a mini science discussion while they work.

  3. These look awesome...looking forward to doing this with our lesson on Alaska!! Great blog!!

  4. I understand how difficult it can be to travel with your supplies from room to room. Good thing you're so organized! I love this project and will try it out during the school year.

  5. These are so unbelievably beautiful and inspiring! What a creative project!

  6. These turned out fabulous. Very inspiring.