painted birch trees
I’ve seen this project redone so many times over the years and love the look and feel. It reminds me of the joyful sunsets I saw as a kid in upstate New York. To start the project use a pencil to draw a gentle wave for a horizon line. The birch trees are taped up to the top (with rainbow colored painters tape from Amazon to match their tables-gotta get that organization). Students used failed pieces of tape to add natural looking broken branches. Be sure to show students how to lint their tape on their clothes so it’s easy to peel off on day two.
For this version I used what I had, which was tempera cakes and not the traditional watercolor for the background. The tape was peeled off on day two and the trees were textured by hand using Sharpie. I just love the way youthful mark-making looks as natural tree bark. It looks like an ancient language. We discuss how style is like handwriting and is unique to the artist. Next, flick paint from the shadow side using sturdy cardstock, or cardboard, dipped in slightly watered down black paint.
On day three was D-day or Detail Day, more shadows were added with a gray marker, a few chose to draw a wooden fence following the horizon line, or dots of white paint with a Q-tip for falling snow. Some students added tiny animal footprints (sadly not pictured but super cuuute). Early finishers helped each other. Perfect for 3rd grade and up. You can check out this and more projects on my Instagram @artsmudge.