Paint consists of three components:  pigment, binder, and solvent.  Pigments, the color, have been derived from plant, animal and mineral sources.  The binder, added to pigment, holds the pigment together allowing the color to be applied to a surface.  Solvents allow the spread of pigments.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each paint medium and the possibilities can be explored by the individual artist to achieve desired effects.

In my 5th grade classes I cover watercolor painting implementing techniques such as translucent washes, wet on wet color blending and dry brush.  Beginning with a pencil line drawing, we discuss layering the paint to build up colors and create depth in addition to methods of control the paint.  We have studied artists and exemplars such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Audrey Flack, Winslow Homer, and the Hudson River School painters to discover themes such as “Animals in Art,” “Abstraction,” “Still Lifes,” “Landscapes,” and “Adventure.”  One of their favorites projects was the discussion of Wayne Thiebaud. and students created cupcake paintings based on their drawings of cupcakes we decorated in class.

In the 7th grade we cover painting with tempera.  Again we cover the basics of wet on wet and dry brush but we build upon our previous knowledge of layering the paint to create tints, shades and adjusting the intensity of colors using its compliment.  We discuss the history of painting from the caves of Lascaux to contemporary artists.  Considering artistic styles such as realism, abstraction and non-objective.