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Little Hallingbury



Watercolour Painting

In class we have been learning to paint using watercolours and have used the techniques described below to create pictures of Pompeii.


Your task is to practise using these techniques to create your own paintings.  You could:

  1. Paint a watercolour picture of your garden or the local landscape.
  2. Paint a picture of a plant, linking to our science topic.  Can you show in your painting the detail of a plant’s leaves, stem or petals?
  3. Paint a picture of Heorot from our English book Beowulf.  Remember it is described as ‘The Hall was made of the finest wood, decorated with ivory, silver and dazzling gold.’ (Power-of-3)

If you do not have watercolour paintings at home, don’t worry turn your art lesson into a science lesson and try other types of paint and experiment.  Do the techniques still work with acrylic paints?


Watercolour technique one: wet paint on dry paper

Dip a paint brush into a pot of water and then use your wet brush to pick up the paint from the dry cake. Use it to fill in one of your circles.  Select a few different colours and use them to fill a few more circles.

What happens if you use more, or less, water with the paint?

Which colours appeal to you?

What happens when you mix two or three colours in the same circle?

Watercolour technique two: wet paint on wet paper

This time, using a clean brush, fill a circle completely with just water – no paint.  Then pick up some colour and drop it on to the wet circle. Use more paint to cover the wet circle.

What happens to the paint when it touches the wet circle?

Try adding more watercolour paints onto your wet circle. How do the colours combine?


Watercolour technique three: watercolour paints with salt

Next, try combining salt with your watercolour paints.  Use a selection of salts if you have them: fine table salt and coarse rock salt.  Paint with your watercolours, and then sprinkle salt on top while the paint is still wet. 

Leave it to dry while you fill in more of your circles, and then brush the salt away and see what effect the salt has created.

How has it changed the appearance of your paint?

Why do you think that has happened?

What other ways can you think of to test out the combination of paint and salt?


You could experiment with the different textures of salt that you have: see what patterns the fine salt creates and how the coarse salt looks.


Vary the length of time the salt is applied: leave the salt until everything is completely dry on one circle, and leave it for just a little while and then blow it off on another circle.


Change when the salt is applied: put it on when the watercolours are completely wet on one circle, or when they are partially dry in another circle, or almost completely dry on a third circle.


What do you notice about the different circles?

Which patterns appeal to you the most?

What does each pattern look like and what do they make you think of?


Watercolour technique four: watercolour paints with crayons

For our fourth experiment, we’re using wax crayons with our paints and taking advantage of a particular property they have – the way they resist the watercolour paint.  Begin by using wax crayons to draw out different patterns inside some of your circles. You might try a geometric design, spots, stripes, draw a scene, or freestyle an abstract organic line within the circle. Then use a paint brush to wash watercolour paint right over the top of your pattern, to fill in the circle. You’ll notice the paper absorbs the paint but the wax crayon resists it, giving you a painted background and revealing your wax crayon design.


Watercolour technique five: watercolour paint with cling film

Fill in your final circles with paint, using whichever colours you like.  While the paint is still wet, apply a layer of plastic wrap over it. Allow the wrap to fold and crumple as you gently press it down.  Leave the paint to dry with the plastic film still in place over the top of the paint. Once dry, peel back the plastic wrap to reveal the pattern on your watercolour circles.

What does your finished work look like?

You might even like to use the painting as a background for a landscape drawing, using marker pens to add more details.



What have you learned about watercolour paints in this experiment?

Which techniques did you like the best?

Which techniques do you want to use again, in other creative projects?

Are they any other ways of using watercolour paints that you want to try?


Remember to take a photo of your paintings and share them with me.

Picture 1 Technique one - dry
Picture 2 Technique two - wet
Picture 3 Technique three - salt
Picture 4 Technique four - crayon
Picture 5 Technique five - clingfilm
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