Sunday, November 2, 2008

Remembrance Day painting - Art Project

In Canada we honor Remembrance Day on Nov. 11th. The poppy is the national symbol we use in recognition of the poem "In Flander's Fields" written by John McCrae.

At school we incorporate the poppy into our Art projects. This is a Poppy watercolor painting project that I have done with Grades 1 and 2.

Materials Required:

watercolor paper or heavy sketch paper, tempera paint in green, blue and red, paintbrush, painter's masking tape, scissors,

glue stick, Black marker, red paper (optional)

Tape down your paper on an artboard or piece of cardboard. I always like to tape a painting project as it leaves a nice clean mat for presentation.

Using a pencil mark off horizon. In this project we used rolling hills.

Using the painter's masking tape (low tack masking tape) we cut pieces in half and create crosses. You can help cut the tape for the kids or let them give it a go. I find that some get quite frustrated cutting the tape while others enjoy doing it themselves. I asked the kids to mask off at least 3 crosses. They can do more as long as it was an odd number (3,5,7...). Odd numbers just look better visually.

Press down all the tape edges to make sure your tape will resist the paint.

Start painting. We started with the sky. We wet the paper with plain water to the horizon line and then added our paint starting at the top. This is called a graded wash and mimics the sky in real life. It will be darker at the top and will get lighter as it approaches the horizon.

Using the green paint paint in the rolling hills. paint right over the tape.

We mixed a little brown with our green to get a darker shade of green and to add some depth to our hills.

If you want some clouds in your sky you can lift off some color while it's still wet with a kleenex to form some realistic looking clouds.

To further add some texture to your painting you can sprinkle on some salt when the paint is just about dry, right before it loses its shine.

Let dry. Don't remove the salt until it is completely dry or it will smear.

While you are waiting for your painting to dry work on your poppies. You can paint some paper red while you have your paints out or you can use some red construction paper.

Cut out some poppy shapes and then using your black marker put in the centers. You need quite a few poppies if you want drifts of flowers.

When your painting has dried rub off the salt. I usually hold it over the sink to do this step. Now the magic....remove the tape to reveal the white crosses.

Using a glue stick, attach the poppies to your painting.

This is the painting my son completed last year. The kids were amazed when they took off the tape and the white crosses appeared.

I will be posting more Remembrance Day projects so check back.
see you next time


  1. fantastic project - thanks for making the steps so clear and easy to follow. :)

  2. Thanks for feedback 3rdEyeMuse. I keep trying not to skip any steps...I know when I try a new project the more info the better.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I loved doing the above Remembrance Day paintings with my class last year. I was able to project your steps on my SmartBoard. The students were so excited when they peeled off the tape. Thank-you!

  4. love this one. Plan to try it with my students this week.

  5. Worked really well. The tape removal was definitely a high light. They also enjoyed working on creating different shades of blue and green.

  6. Love love love your blog. Always inspiring. I'm going to give this a go with my grade ones tomorrow. It's got the wow factor...thanks from BC.

  7. WOW this is such a fantastic blog. All of the ideas arre achievable. Thank you!

  8. I am NOT a good artist or a good art teacher, however, I did this with my kindergarten class and it was sooo good! They did such a good job and they liked doing it and we got compliments from other teachers. I love this project & I will do it again next year and I love this website.

  9. I have to say that this is one of the best and most original Remembrance Day crafts I've seen. Can't wait to try this with my grade 1 class tomorrow!

  10. Great project. One little trick, I was worried about the students getting slowed down and frustrated with cutting the tape. I scored the roll of tape with a utility knife and was then able to give them a long narrow piece. Great project.

  11. Thanks for the great project and instructions! I am a volunteer art teacher at a senior's residence - I teach watercolour and sketching. As rememberance day is an important one especially for seniors who remember the war, we'll be painting this scene! Due to mobility issues, I'll be cutting the tape and doing some of the drawing. This project fits right in where they are in the instruction - they've done washes but not graded ones which was the next skill to learn. Also, we'll be discussing light sources and adding shading to the hills accordingly. The only change I'm making is to add shadows for the crosses once they have established where they want the light source to be. Thank you so much!! Barbara

  12. I did this project with my grade 2 class today. It was stunning. The children were able to do all of the steps. It was magical for them to remove the tape..lots of oohs and ahhs and huge smiles!! They look great. Thanks for posting such great instructions, and pictures of each step. Proud to see you are a fellow Calgarian!

  13. This project at Senior's Residence on Thursday (Rememberance day) went well. As we only have an hour and the seniors need quite a bit of help, I prepared all the poppies ahead of time, used masking tape to secure the paper to a plastic backing, and drew the lines to show the hills. I was able to find narrow masking tape and cut it for them so they could just attach the tape for the crosses. One aspect of working with adults versus children are that adults can be highly self-critical if their art isn't what they believe to be of a good standard or not as good as another participants. They did, however, like the results of this project!

  14. I am looking forward to doing this with my kindergarten students and their grade 5 book buddies. Thank you so much for the step by step instructions.

  15. Thanks for the excellent idea. Works very well with Grade 2 students. Much appreciated. Beautiful remembrance day art idea. Students love to see the crosses after removing the tape.

  16. This is a great idea. I homeschool my two boys, ages 8 and 6, and they really enjoyed doing this type of artwork.

  17. I was looking for a remembrance day artwork for Year 1 and this is perfect! Thank you so much

  18. Myself being an art teacher in a Belgian school, I recently discovered your site.
    It's great to see all these new techniques and ideas, keep us going on at school without re-using boring ideas sometimes, thanks a lot !!! (

  19. Greetings from Australia. Thank you for posting this amazing project. I am going to attempt this with my class for Remembrance Day. I'm sure they will be amazed when they see the results.

  20. My 7 year old daughter did a beautiful job completing this. Thanks for the inspiration :)