Friday, November 19

November Painting.........The Bare Tree

So, this week I gave in.
Toucie has spent the last two years painting with a single primary color at a time, and just these last 3 months painting with 2 colors at once. She's been thrilled to watch orange, or green, or violet appear under her brush during these painting sessions and now has begun begging to find out what happens when you mix all three - red, yellow, and blue.
Some might say this is too much to tackle with a kindergartener, but I am giving this one to the kid...she wants to explore with color? Here's a brush, girl!

Since I know that the 3 primary colors blend to make a muddy brown, I tried to come up with a painting where that would work to our advantage. Here, in our corner of the world, November means that the final dance of the turning leaves is taking place. Most of the trees have already "put on their party clothes" and now dropped them and are standing bare on thick carpets of colored leaves.

I chose a short story called "The Anxious Leaf" and adapted it to our needs, changing words and phrases here and there. When the story was told we began the painting...I painted silently and Toucie followed my actions.

Here are the basic steps we did:

- Paint about a third of the paper blue, a third yellow, and a third can see in Toucie's painting above how we roughly placed the thirds....try not to let the colors touch at first. Make sure brushes are rinsed between colors. Use generous brushfulls of paint (so that the painting is wet enough that you'll be able to drag one color into another for making the secondary colors)
-With a clean brush, sweep very gently back and forth between the blue and the yellow to create an area of green at the bottom of the paper (grass maybe?)
-Again, clean the brush and sweep back and forth between blue and red at the top to create an area of violet.
-Again, between red and yellow, to create an area of orange. (perhaps a sunset sky of yellow orange red violet blue?)
-You should have a rainbow of 6 colors on your paper.
-With a clean brush, begin to sweep the brush through the colors, creating the shape of tree roots, trunk and bare branches. Try not to lift your brush from the paper so that all the colors are pulled along by your brush and blended to make brown. Sweep up and down, from root, through the trunk, up to a branch, back down the branch, down through the trunk, down to create another root. Up again, thickening the trunk, brushing out to create another branch, etc...a beautiful brown tree will appear as if by magic, standing against a sky of many shifting colors.


  1. i love this!! i will be borrowing your lesson.

    i have a mixed age classroom. we spend most of the year with one color, then explore two, then for the last part we do all three. not how many do it, but for some of our children, they will not carry on with waldorf and this will be the only experience they get with this method. i love to see the progression!

  2. Wow! Did you made that up? It's great!! I'll do it with my girls! I know what you mean about the colors... I gave in too and we were all happier!

  3. Thanks ladies :)
    Catherine, I just bookmarked some painting ideas on YOUR blog!