Sunday, May 15, 2011

Watercolor Tip

It's that time of year when there are many events that conflict with my schedule - this week most 5th graders are headed up north to the Prescott National Forest for a 3 day stay, next week the PE Field Days are scheduled for K-5 and the usual problems of classes split because of a lack of subs. Of course this means that classes are canceled or shortened so I like to use the few remaining classes to try out new ideas or old, easy favorites.

I thought I would try circle paintings that I had read about on several other blogs. So 1st graders began by using watercolor to paint their circles. During the next class, we'll add more details with oil pastels. They enjoyed having more time to practice their watercolor and painting techniques.

One tip that I've taught them is how to clean the watercolor pans. I prefer to use separate pans of color vs. a watercolor set. My sets would always get nasty-looking after just one or two classes & I find it's much easier to clean individual pans than a set.

Because it's inevitable that some students will mix colors in the pan rather than on the paper (as is always demonstrated), I show my kiddos how to clean up the mess left by someone else.

First, wet the paint with a clean brush...

then tear a small piece of dry paper towel and blot the pan.

Repeat if necessary and Ta Dah!! Clean pan!

I find this teaching/training empowers the kids to take care of problems themselves rather than expecting me to 'fix it'. Now if I could just get those OCD kids to paint instead of spending all their time cleaning the paints...


  1. It is interesting that you use pans instead of the watercolor sets, but how do you handle passing them out and picking them up?

  2. I have all the color pans sorted by color in boxes stored in 2 drawers and put 4 of each color in my plastic trays (see my 'Confessions of a Tray-aholic') along with water containers & brushes for a watercolor project. The trays are stored as is until the project is finished, then I set the pans to dry out and put them away by color again. It works great for me and much less hassle than dirty sets that often need to have individual pans of color replaced...


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