Monday, August 17, 2015

'Moose in the Wild' Art Project

This is 'Moose in the Wild' a new project that uses a variety of painting techniques.  As one of our iconic wild animals, most Canadians have seen a moose in the wild at some point.
 For those of you in Newfoundland it's probably a daily occurrence!

This one is on an 8"x10" canvas, can also be done on hardboard.

This is a page from my art journal.

Here is a Fall version on a piece of 18 x 12" heavy white paper.


- substrate, whether canvas, hardboard, paper or art journal
- paint, for paper based projects you can use disk and liquid tempera, for canvas or hardboard you need acrylic
- moose template, optional
- brown kraft paper or cardstock
- scraps of cereal box weight cardboard and a scrap of corrugated cardboard
- white tissue paper or drywall filler (there are 2 options for antlers)
- glue
- extra white paper
- sponge
- pencils for stamping
- sharpies and pencil crayons
- Mod Podge for sealing canvas or hardboard option


We start off painting our background.  For the art journal/paper version I used disk tempera.

I like to grade my wash.  Basically this means I want darker, more saturated colour at the top and then lighter, more diluted colour near the bottom.
Why? because this what you see in the sky outside.

For the canvas version I used acrylic and my sky is all one colour but I could have added some white to my blue acrylic and graded my background as well.  We want to add in our horizon line.  Stay low on the background and add some ground colour.

For the paper versions I added some trees while my sky wash was still damp.

I'm using watery disk tempera again.  I like to use flat brushes.
Use the flat edge of the brush to make vertical tree lines and to dab on the branches.

Because the paper is still damp you get a nice diffused look.

Set your background aside to dry. Now we'll work on the aspen trees.

I use 3 types of sponges in my work and they produce different results.

The foam sponge has a fine grain but soaks up the paint so you get a mix of fine texture and areas of concentrated colour.

The grocery store sponge gives you a uniform texture.

The natural sponge gives you a mix.

For our aspen trees we are going to use the grocery store sponge.

Take a piece of paper (12x18" or so) and cut in half.

Cut your sponge into pieces or for more unusual texture you can tear the sponge.

Sponge on some black paint leaving lots of white space.

When dry cut your paper in strips the long way.  You don't want wavy lines but you also don't want perfectly straight lines.

Make some wide and some thin.

Place a few (art loves odd #'s) on your background to see how they look. One hint mix up your strips a bit so you don't see the echo of your cutlines.  Glue into place.

Take your corrugated cardboard and cut a little square.

Dip the corrugated end into the paint (yellow, brown, green) and stamp on some grass.

Vary the lengths to look more natural and clump some together.

Time to add the leaves.

Using a new or unsharpened pencil stamp on some circular leaves. Use a few different colours of green or fall colours if it is autumn.

I keep a class set of these pencils and I use them in lots of my projects.

Cut your antlers out of cereal box weight cardboard.  I'm using cardboard because I'm going to add extra texture to these antlers.

Now you could use templates or have the kids draw their own.

I prefer the kids to design their own but I know how it goes and sometimes you need a template as a back- up.

Now I have 2 different techniques to add texture to these antlers.

The first is to spread white glue on the cardboard, add some white tissue paper, scrunching as you go into the glue to add wrinkles.

Let dry and then you can trim the excess tissue.

The second option is to spread a little drywall filler on the antlers.

Let dry, about 2-3 hours for this small area.

Once the antlers are dry (either technique) add a coat of white paint.

After the paint is dry you want to add just a touch of colour to bring out that texture you spent all that time on.

To do this use watery (just a hint of colour) paint and brush on the antlers.  Leave some parts unpainted.

Now that the antlers are done we can make the moose.

Take some brown paper or cardstock. (I used brown kraft paper)

Cut it about the size you want.

Draw your moose trying to use the full size of the paper.

I use this strategy to get the kids to draw the right size.  Inevitably I will get a few teeny tiny moose but we erase and start again.  Give them a few reference photos to help.

If you get really stuck feel free to use the template.

 I know the paper is already brown but we want to add a little variation to that colour so we add some paint.

Add a little sharpie and pencil crayon to define the features.

Cut out and glue into place.  Add the antlers.

Finally if you are working on canvas or hardboard you might want to add a coat of sealer to protect everything.

If you did the drywall on the antlers but the paper version you still might want to add a touch of podge on those antlers just to protect that drywall.

That's it.

Hope a 'Moose in the Wild' graces some of those school hallways in next few months and I'll see you



  1. How awesome! I will definitely be doing this with my classes this fall!

  2. Love this project! Your ideas for creating texture are great!

  3. Love this! I am from Maine so this is fun for me. Love all the varied techniques. Can't wait to try this with my art classes.