Monday, November 11, 2013

Prairie Landscapes and a Page from the Art Journal

On Friday I presented at the Early Childhood Education Conference.  Those of you that joined me completed these 6 inchies representing art projects from my "I am Canadian" series.  I had a great time and thanks to the ECEC committee for inviting me!

One of my favourites is the Prairie Landscape which I also did with Grade 1/2 in my last residency.

The large project looks like this.  I had already podged it before photographing so sorry for the glare.

Here is some of the student work.


- 12" x 12" piece of masonite or MDF, cardboard, or heavy paper
- sky blue, brown, yellow, white, red or green, acrylic paint
- sponge
- piece of corrugated cardboard
- chipboard or light cardboard from a cereal or cracker box
- drywall medium
- train clip art
- green painter's masking tape
- Mod podge
- tacky glue


For the substrate (base) I used 1/8" masonite.  It's the same material I use to make my art boards.  I have a 'father in law' with a woodshop so he is nice enough to prep all my wood for me. Thanks Hank!

Home Depot sells masonite/MDF in 2' x 4' pieces now called builder cuts.  Much easier to handle and relatively inexpensive. (my 12" x 12" board works out to 37 cents)

You can also use cardboard or heavy paper (poster board) for this project.  If working on paper you can easily substitute liquid tempera for the acrylic just don't add the Mod podge at the end.

I taped off the horizon line for my students.  This is Grade 1/2 so we learn a little chant before painting. "Paint, paint, when we hit the tape we STOP!"  I get them to hold up their hands for stop.

Paint in the sky with blue acrylic. We are working on top of wax paper.

For the most part this works very well.  Of course you always seem to have one that forgets about the tape…..sigh.

Leave to dry, about 30 minutes.

While our board is drying we will work on the grain elevator.

For Grade1/2 I use a template.  It's amazing how different they will still turn out to be because of scissor skills.

We cut out our elevators out of thin cardboard or chipboard.

Working on top of wax paper, add a layer of drywall medium to your grain elevator.  I just have the kids use their finger to spread.

Leave to dry, about 5 hrs or so.

When my blue paint is dry I remove the green tape and move it so it is on the blue with the edge now on the unpainted part. (horizon line)

Paint the bottom with brown acrylic paint.

I take a piece of sponge and some white acrylic paint and sponge in some clouds.

Using a piece of corrugated cardboard on it's end I add yellow paint.

You want to still be able to see the brown background.

When the drywall medium is dry you can paint your grain elevator.  I gave the kids a choice of red or green.

We added the Alberta Wheat Pool logo.  You can adapt this to the logo of the wheat pool in your area.

We also added a door made from black paper.

I found a clip art train and we glued it and the grain elevator in place using tacky glue.

If you are working on masonite, canvas, or cardboard you can add a coat of Mod podge to seal everything and get that nice shiny coat.

That's it.

Here's a page from the art journal.  I'm having a tough time adapting this November.  It seems winter just snuck up on us here in Calgary.

We are supposed to have warmer weather in a few days to melt all that snow….thank goodness.

To make this page I added some painted paper scraps to my background as well as a piece of textured wallpaper that I cut into a tree trunk shape.

I added a quick coat of gesso.  you can also use white acrylic or my new favourite art supply, plain white latex primer from the hardware store….a little thinner but still adds tooth to your surface and is erasable.  (and did I mention CHEAP, I got a 7.4 litre can at WalMart for $10.00 on clearance)

Paint in your background.  I did a twilight scene…. with the end of daylight savings it seems so dark now and I'm still trying to get my head around that.

Paint the tree black, add a few leaves that have not fallen yet.  I also used some silver paper.  A little glitter glue for the frost.  For my text I used a white paint sharpie and a fine black sharpie.

See you next time.


  1. Hi Gail,

    Love your ideas and clear, step-by-step instructions. Could you please e-mail me the Wheatpool and the train pics? Thanks!

    1. Hi Leeanne, I can send those to you but I need your email address. Send it to me at