- Cover tables with drop cloths or newspaper.
- Place a large container of water on each table.
- Mix paint colors that will work for each sea creature (e.g., red, orange, green, brown, gray, pink, etc.) and put paint into small containers or trays.
- Create a station that has the following items laid out for each table of students to come up and request (supervised by an adult): pencils, pre-mixed paints in containers, a large container of brushes of all sizes, a container of rags or paper towels.
- Set out all the papier-mâché sculptures on tables, grouping similar sea creatures together. Each table should have 2–4 sea creatures that will be similar in color.
Step 1: Planning with pencil
Students are assigned to a table with other students with sea creatures similar in color to theirs. Each student is given a pencil and asked to think about the different color areas of their sculptures and the details they are going to want to include using paint. Using pencil—and their drawings and research to inform their use of color and detail—each student will mark the different color areas on their sculptures such as eyes, dots, underbelly, texture, etc.
Step 2: Painting
Teaching Tip: It is helpful to have as many adult volunteers as possible to help students with painting.
The teaching artist explains best practices for painting and use of water to thin paint: when painting, use water to move and thin the paint to a lighter color on the sculpture. Thick paint doesn’t allow for texture or depth. Make it clear that students are not to mix colors on the trays; remind them to only mix paint on the actual sculpture.
Next, students decide which two colors they are going to use first, choose a paintbrush and a rag, and return to the table to begin painting. Students can use the rags to rub over wet or thick paint. They can add painterly texture as well. The rags are also for cleaning the brush between colors.
Students should begin with large areas first. Once the two colors have been used, students can request new colors and begin work on details. When painting the details, it is sometimes better to let the base color dry first. The details can then be added during a second session and with some extra support. Mistakes are easy to make when painting details and are hard to fix, so extra time to research, pre-draw, or work with an adult is best.
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