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Name_________________________________ Block______

“Creating a Sense of Place” Watercolor Project During this lesson you will learn new have a chance to experiment with new watercolor techniques and then use the techniques to make watercolor paintings that depict various places, both realistically and from imagination. Introduction to Watercolor The main vehicle for watercolor paint is of course water. The soft bristles of the watercolor brush are dipped into water before being dipped into the watercolor pigment. The amount of water used will determine the saturation of the watercolor pigment. Increased water and decreased pigment will result in a light saturation called a tint. The decreased water and increased pigment will result in a saturated, more intense color. The watercolor artist works from light to dark, building up subtle layers of color. It is traditional to begin with a “wash” or general background color which is allowed to dry before the main, medium value shapes are added, and finally the darker value details. Areas that are to remain white may be “masked” out with a substance that will be pealed off after the piece is dry (rubber cement can be used as an inexpensive substitute). Because there is no erasing or starting over when working with watercolor, it is important to work carefully from light to dark and to use a test paper to check your saturation before touching your brush to your artwork. Tip: Pigment can sometimes be “lifted” off the paper when the artist applies too much. Water is painted on the already wet painting causing some of the loose pigment to rise to the surface, where it can be blotted up with a paper towel. This method works to lessen the intensity of the color but will not remove it entirely so go slowly and deliberately. Note: Watercolor becomes lighter in color as it dries. The paint actually works its way into the paper fiber rather than lying on the paper surface like most types of paint.

Part I: Watercolor Sampler For the first part of the project you will create a Sampler of 8 Watercolor Techniques. With (non-sticky) masking tape, tape all 4 edges of your watercolor paper to your piece of cardboard (this will create a ¼” white border on your finished piece). Now use the tape to divide the paper into eight equal rectangles. Paint and Experiment with the eight techniques below. You will soon find your own way to make interesting effects and textures. Once the painting has dried, remove the masking tape and label the eight techniques with a fine point permanent marker. On the back, in the lower right hand corner write your name, class and block in pencil.





The most basic watercolor technique is the flat wash. It is produced by first wetting the area of paper to be covered by the wash, then mixing sufficient pigment to easily fill the entire area. The pigment is applied in slightly overlapping horizontal bands from the top down. Paint a wash on your paper (to make a wet surface). With one or multiple new colors, make a few strokes or dabs and see what happens. The results vary from soft undefined shapes to slightly blurred marks, depending on how wet the paper is. The soft marks made by painting wet in wet are great for subtle background regions of your painting. Using a fan bristled brush, using little or no water, lightly wisk the paint filled brush across the paper. Individual brush strokes will be evident.This method is generally used to finish details. What happens if you add a small pinch of salt to a wet watercolor painting? Lay down some small pieces of masking tape (ripped or cut) and paint a wash over it. Pull up the tape when the painting is dry. Paint or drip rubber cement onto a few areas of your paper. Let it dry and paint a wash over the entire paper. Once the paint is completely dry, rub off the rubber cement. Do a wash with one or more colors, making sure the surface is very wet. Place a small, scrunched piece of plastic wrap on the painting and leave it there until the painting is dry. Make a painting using multiple techniques from the list above.

Part 2: Three Watercolor Postcards Working from reference photos, create three postcard size paintings of different places. Your photos could be from childhood, a favorite vacation, a favorite local place or a destination abroad you have always wanted to visit. Each postcard should have a crisp ¼” white border on all sides.

Basic Watercolor Process Sample from the wash to details:

Tape your paper to the board and lightly sketch in subject

Wet your paper and wash in light tints and background - leave white areas white

Add medium value shapes - work wet on dry

Add dark value details and areas of greatest contrast

Part 3: Two large paintings For the final part of the project you will create two large paintings of the same place; the first will be realistic and the second will be a creative interpretation. Each painting should have a ½” clean white border. There are many ways to creatively interpret your image. Think about changing the color, simplifying the shapes, using patterns etc… An example of two paintings of San Marco Basilica inVenice by Joel Westervelt (realistic) and Miles Batt (creative interpretation):

Part 3: Two large paintings- thumbnail sketches Draw two realistic thumbnail sketches of your place. Try two different compositions:

Next draw some thumbnail sketches of creative interpretations of your place. Here are some ideas to help you brainstorm: • What designs or patterns could you add? • Could you make your place look dreamlike? • Could you combine two places? • What about simplifying or exaggerating the shapes? • How could you change the colors?

Art Exploration-

Watercolor- “Creating a Sense of Place “ Name ___________________


This is your chance to reflect upon your process and finished product. In each of the five rows, please circle one box that you feel most accurately matches the amount of work you did for this project. A Excellent Outstanding Planned carefully, designed effectively, used space effectively.

B Very Good Above Average Student made an effective design. Showed an awareness of filling the space adequately.

Creativity/ Originality

The student tried unusual combinations; demonstrated outstanding problemsolving skills.

The student made decisions after referring to one source; solved the problem in a logical way.

The student tried one idea, and carried it out adequately, but it lacked originality.

Effort/ Perseverance

The project was continued until it was as complete as the student could make it; gave effort far beyond that required; took pride in going well beyond the requirement. The artwork was beautifully and patiently done; it was good as hard work could make it.

The student worked hard and completed the project, but with a little more effort it might have been outstanding.

Project was finished, but it could have been improved with more effort; chose an easy project and did it indifferently.

With a little more effort, the work could have been outstanding; lacks the finishing touches.

The student showed average craftsmanship; adequate, but not as good as it could have been; a bit careless.

The student followed through on commitments, was sensitive to the feelings and knowledge level of others, willingly participated in necessary preparation or work for classroom. __________________ Part I- watercolor sampler: What surprised you about the techniques?

The student participated enthusiastically, followed through on commitments, performed more than adequately, assisted in preparation and cleanup.

The student did his or her share of work adequately, assisted in preparation and cleanup when asked.


Craftsmanship / Consistency


C Average/ Good The student did the assignment adequately, yet it shows lack of planning.

D Below Average

F Unsatisfactory /Poor

The assignment was completed and turned in, but showed little evidence of design or planning.

The student did the minimum or the artwork was never completed.

The student fulfilled the assignment, but gave no evidence of trying anything unusual.

The student showed no evidence of original thought.

The project was completed with minimum effort.

The student did not finish the work adequately. The student did not put in enough effort.

The student showed below-average craftsmanship, lack of pride in finished artwork.

The student showed poor craftsmanship; evidence of laziness or total lack of understanding.

The student allowed others to do most of the work, did participate minimally, did the minimum amount.

The student did a minimal amount of preparation and cleanup. The student had a poor attitude.

Which technique did you like the best and why? Part 2- Postcards: In your opinion, what is the most successful aspect of your postcards?

If you were to do this project again, what would you do differently next time? Part 3- Two large paintings: How well do you feel were you able to make a realistic version of your photo? Explain your concept for the creative interpretation of your photo? How successful do you think it is and why?

Please write a few sentences explaining what grade you would give yourself for this project (all 3 parts) and why. Grade _____ Reasons:

Pass in your 8 section watercolor experimentation (labeled) , your postcards (matted on black paper), your four reference photos from home for postcards, postcard rough drafts and your two large paintings along with this completed evaluation. On the back of each watercolor painting, write your name, class and block in the lower right hand corner with a pencil.

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