Fall is a wonderful time to examine the changes around us. Even here in the desert the leaves change color and fall to the ground! But if you have the true fall, with the change in the air, a nip on your nose, and brilliant colors, how much better to introduce the subject than through the medium of water color!
Children love to watercolor; Some of my fondest memories were spent having preschoolers paint shapes or create their own “art” using liquid or disc watercolors.
This project uses “wet on wet,” a technique where clean water is painted onto the surfact that is to be painted before the paint is applied. It gives an effect that is a bit like tie-dyed and children are amazed to see the colors run and blend together. It’s a perfect first art lesson in color blending and primary and secondary colors.
- Watercolor paper, coffee filters or sturdy paper towels
- Watercolors (Crayola or more condensed watercolor tubes)
- Brushes – one that is approximately 1 inch and one that’s smaller
- 2 watercolor cups (small clean yogurt containers work well for this) – one for rinsing brushes and one for adding to paint
- Pencil for tracing
- Paper Towels
- Trace the leaf shape onto paper, filter or paper towel.
- Paint clean water inside the leaf shape
- Keeping the water color thick (the consistency of cream not water), apply color by touching your brush to the moist leaf shape and watch it bloom
- Rinse brush and add additional colors, one at a time. Let children choose their favorites and enjoy the colors blending together. It doesn’t matter if they stay inside the lines
- Using the brush’s handle, let children draw “veins” into their leaves. The vein will darken as the paper flattens with the pressure
- Let the leaf dry completely and then cut out.
As in nature, the beautiful leaves will each be unique and special. If you want a background, you can experiment with watercolor techniques such as color washes (diluted water colors applied with a large brush), spraying a large sheet of water color paper with water and color in a spray bottle or blotting between color applications with scrunched up paper towels. After the mounting paper has dried, cut out shapes slightly larger than the leaves. Or you can simply mount on card stock or heavier grade construction paper for a beautiful fall collage. Looks great on a wall or bulletin board! If you have used coffee filters, the translucent look is perfect for a fall window display.