Watercolor Trees

We are learning so much in art class! We are officially half way through the school year, and we have already taught many of the elements of art. This week the emphasis is on color. I want to really take my time with color, mostly because there is so much to know. I would like all my students to have a well-rounded understanding of color theory, and I just don’t think that one quick lesson will cut it. I don’t want to brag, but honestly… I think my art students are top-notch. They are the best of the best, and you will agree once you see their watercolor trees! This is a great project for all ages. I’m going to use this same lesson with my older kids today, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

I started by teaching my students all about primary colors, and how all colors can be made from three very important hues; red, blue and yellow.  We then discussed secondary colors. When mixing two primary colors, we get three secondary colors; green, violet and orange.

Using watercolor paper, watercolor paint, two paint brushes, a spray bottle and water we began making our watercolor trees project.

Image below by a an 8-year-old


Using a small brush and either red, blue or yellow paint, tap your brush against another bigger brush, stick or hard object. This will leave spatters of paint on your paper. Try to keep a majority of the spatters within a triangle shape. This will help to make it look more like a tree.

Image below by a 6-year-old


When you’re happy with the results, spray your paper with a small amount of water to blend the colors. Don’t go crazy with it, because the original spatters of paint look really nice in the completed image.

Let the paper dry naturally. Don’t rush the process by using a hair dryer or other device, because the colors won’t blend quite as nicely. This could take up to an hour or more depending on how saturated the paper is.

Image below is mine

watercolor trees

Once its dry begin adding tree branches and a trunk. My class calls these tree branches, anxiety lines. In our class we never just say “line” we always describe the line with either a characteristic or emotion. It makes me a little giddy! These guys are amazing! 

Step back and admire your hard work! Watercolor trees are truly amazing! This project was inspired by June Rollins and her Triad Tree. Let me know what you decide to do with your tree designs. I’m curious about how creative you decide to get with them.

Lets Paint!

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