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From Cathy Gaul:
This is a 'suitable for framing' parent favorite. To begin we discuss impressionism and I show Linnea in Monet's Garden video. We talk about garden structures, all the man-made parts that go into a garden like fences, bird baths, arbors, arches, paths, benches, etc. The fence and gate and path are a must, and everything else is extra.
To begin the project, we cut the man made parts from oak tag paper and fix them to the paper to act like stencils. In the past we used little bits of 'Ticky Tack' but last year I used a Removable Restickable Glue Stick that is removable. Just be sure to wait at least 30 seconds to put the pieces on the background paper or they won't come off! The stencil cutting and placing usually takes at least one whole class period. Another option are Tac-On Pads.
When all the man made stuff is put in place, we sponge paint around all the stencils where flowers or grass would go. We also sponge a tree border that will be in the background. They can make shapes of evergreens (triangles) or deciduous tree tops. This also insures that the entire fence will be sponged around with the paint color for the garden. I use 3 layers of color and use small cut pieces of sponges. They start with yellow, then green, then blue for shadow areas, especially in the trees. Then they can do the sky, first with white, then a tiny bit of blue, leaving some areas white for cloud shapes if they choose.
The flower painting is done with Q tips. I show pictures from garden catalogs and Impressionist garden paintings. They can make taller perennial flowering shrubs using the edge of cut rectangles of cardboard. They often make flowering vines growing on the arches and fences. We talk about how flowers grow in the sun, not on the ground for the vines. I emphasize that it isn't really a painting as much as a dabbing. They can layer colors to make their flowers look less like colored lollipop blobs sitting there and more like a planting of flowers. This project usually takes 3 full classes (of 75 minutes each).
This project is one of the favorites of the kids and the parents!