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  • Writer's pictureMakalla Shernick

Wet Media

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

Watercolor and Tempera


Adjectives

Fluid, wet, watery, translucent, malleable, erasable


Supporting Materials
  • Water

  • Brushes

  • Paper towels

  • Sink to wash hands and brushes



Safety & Health Considerations
  • Aprons should be worn

  • Hands washed after painting

  • No food or drink near work area

  • Brushes not put on or near the face


Accommodation Possibilities
  • Adaptive and Easy-Grip Brushes

  • Watercolor Brushes

  • Watercolor Pencils


Appropriate Age Group & Behavioral Expectations
  • K-5 students will be able to safely use and maintain materials. They will be able to experiment creatively with the possibilities of painting and use color intentionally.

  • 6-12 students will have an increased level of familiarity with watercolor and tempera. They will be able to experiment with and apply many different techniques into their finished artworks. They will be able to use layering in their pieces to increase visual interest.


Brands & Associated Quality/Cost

Artist Resource and Project Idea

Emily Van Engle is a contemporary artist. She often uses watercolors as her main medium. My project idea is inspired by her most recent work.

Students will use watercolors to create a personal color palette and watercolor paintings.


I taught this particular project in the 2022 Fall semester of MCAA's Saturday Art classes. I began the lesson by having students complete an identity mind-map in their sketchbooks. This was a crucial step in having the students form abstract connections between aspects of their life and colors.


This is an image from the student's showcase of this project.


Studio Engagement

This is my exploration of tempera through color mixing using Olivia Gude's Freeform Color Investigation activity.


Here is some additional exploration of tempera and watercolor paints.


Portals and Pathways

My research-based artistic exploration revolves around the theme Portals and Pathways. In my childhood, I spent a lot of time outdoors. To this day, being in nature is something that replenishes my mind and body. I completing the painting below using watercolor paints and watercolor pencils. It is based on a photograph I took while on a walk near my house. The dense greenery of the photograph and subsequent watercolor painting represent the almost "otherworldly" appearance that nature can have in juxtaposition with the systematic representation of nature in urban environments. Nature in this way, to me, is very much a portal to another part of life on Earth.



Gouache and Acrylic


Adjectives

Fluid, thick, thin, matte, colorful, wet, soft, bold


Supporting Materials
  • Brushes

  • water

  • paper towels

  • access to a sink

  • soap and water

  • mixing medium

  • palette knives

  • palette for mixing



Safety & Health Considerations
  • Good ventilation is needed

  • aprons or smocks will protect clothing

  • hands washed after painting

  • no food or drink near work area

  • brushes not put on or near the face


Accommodation Possibilities
  • Adaptive and Easy-Grip Brushes

  • Always keeping colors in ‘rainbow’ order

  • Add textures and thickness with non-toxic materials (glitter, sand, quinoa, etc.)


Appropriate Age Group & Behavioral Expectations
  • K-5 students will be able to safely use and maintain materials. They will be able to experiment creatively with the possibilities of painting and use color intentionally. They will be able to understand the fundamentals of color theory.

  • 6-12 students will have an increased level of familiarity with acrylic and gouache. They will be able to experiment with and apply many different techniques into their finished artworks. They will be able to use more advanced color theories and color mixing.

Artist Resource and Project Idea

Lucy Fradkin is a figurative painter who works primarily in gouache and acrylic. Her work is inspired by Indian and Persian miniatures and folk arts, but with contemporary and diverse individuals. Like genre painters, her figures are often placed in domestic settings. Recently she has begun to include more collage work into her paintings.



My project idea is inspired by Lucy Fradkin. Students would use acrylic paint and/or gouache to create a full body self-portrait. Students would place their figurative portraits in a setting where they feel safe, comfortable, and most like their true selves. For some, I imagine this place could be in domestic interiors such as Fradkin's work. However, I would encourage them to explore many different environments and focus on what makes that space personally special.


Brands & Associated Quality/Cost
  • $ Richeson Opaque Watercolor: This gouache set is perfect for young students. The set includes a decent range of colors

  • $$ Liquitex Acrylic Guoache: This professional line of gouache is very opaque and is resistant to water after it is dry.

  • $ Blickrylic: This acrylic paint is great for students due to its economical price point. They offer a wide variety of colors that include florescents and metallics.

  • $$ Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics: These heavy body acrylics are used widely by professional artists. They have a high pigment load that produces a rich, brilliant, permanent color and with good surface drag. It also has an increased working time than softer body acrylics.

Studio Engagement

Here is my creative exploration with Acrylic soft body, heavy body, and gouache paint.


Portals and Pathways

My research-based artistic exploration revolves around the theme Portals and Pathways. I recently went to George Washington's Mount Vernon estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. It was during the 2022 Fall Harvest Festival and there was an abundance of living history activities. The whole experience was like being transported back in time. My final work below is based on a picture I took while I was there that interested me because it displayed evidence of wear and repair over many layers of time. Evidence or portals to the past is really all around us, and just takes some focused attention to see. I used primarily heavy body acrylic paint and palette knives to achieve my final painting.


Studio Reflection

Using the pre-assessment tools from Chapter 5, were immensely helpful in organizing my thoughts about wet materials. This thoughtful organization of ideas made it easier to expand my thinking in new ways that hadn’t occurred to me before. It was almost as “experimental” as the painting experiments themselves. In the mind map, as I was generating ideas about each paint material, I was able to visually go back and forth between each material and make connections between them. My thoughts or feelings about one material would often inspire me to return to another material to add additional thoughts. The mind mapping process made it easier to comprehend the many differences and similarities between the different paint mediums. Mind mapping is something that I do often; it taps into my written learning style and strengthens my understanding of any topic. In the Frayer Model, my thinking was challenged in different ways. I also really liked using this method of pre-assessment because I was able to utilize my analytical style of learning. I felt more compelled to do research for this method of pre-assessment and used the Studio Thinking text to inform what I was writing in each category. This model helped me digest the informative text from the book, and quickly identify/search for the most important aspects of the reading. In this method, I was also able to quickly realize the things I already knew well and the things I needed to know more about the topic based on how easily I was able to fill out each category. Both methods helped me extend my thoughts and feelings about the materials in different ways, and it was a valuable experience for me to participate in both.




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