Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chalk Pastel Poppies

I have already had requests for new Poppy projects for November so I have come up with a few.

This is a chalk pastel version using the white glue on black paper method.

I am very fond of this technique as it always produces winners but I added a bit of twist this time.


- black paper, you want some tooth or texture so black sketch paper or construction paper works great
- chalk pastels
- white school or tacky glue
- acrylic or liquid tempera
- charcoal and pencil crayons


With a pencil draw out your design on black paper.

Overlapping some of the poppies and stems helps create a good composition. You need enough space between your lines so that the glue won't just run all together.

Using white school glue or tacky glue go over your lines with a bead of glue.

Keep paper flat to dry.

When the glue has dried it's time to add the chalk pastel.

For smudging I like to use kleenex and q-tips for the tight spaces.

When I am using chalk pastels I approach it just like a painting, adding light colours for highlights, dark colours for shadows.  Each poppy is made up of several colours not just red.

Here are the poppies all filled in.

Now you could just stop here or add a background.  I wanted a background but I did not want to use chalk pastel.

First off that would have been a lot of chalk pastel, most schools have a limited supply of pastels. Second it could easily become messy with the smudging, although I have my glue lines for definition chances are some of the background colour would wind up on the poppies.

So I chose to use acrylic paint. You want a colour that will give you a chalkboard like effect so pick a lighter more 'pastel' colour.

Do not add water we are doing a dry brush method here.

You can see what I mean here. I am also criss crossing my strokes.  I do this because the brush strokes show up quite a bit using this method and I don't want long brush stroke lines that the eye will follow rather than looking at my poppies.

When the paint dries I decide to take it a bit further.

Using a charcoal pencil I add some shadow around the poppies on the left.

I also add some pencil crayon, layering on some different shades of blue. I am doing this lightly just to add some depth to the background.

Finally I just add little white paint to the upper right corner. I'm just using my finger to rub it in.

That's it. I quite like using the paint for the background and I can see that this will become my primary method from now on.

See you next time.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fall Swirls

The trees are a swirl of brightly coloured leaves, or at least they were until we had some really strong winds and they all blew away.

Here is a great little fall project.


- nice paper for painting on
- green masking tape (painter's tape) optional
- acrylic or liquid tempera paints
- pencil or black pencil crayon
- oil pastels


Tape paper onto art board using masking tape.  This will give us a nice white border.

Using white and blue paint your background.  You want a white oval off centre and then light blue and darker blue.  Have the kids paint in a circular motion.

Set aside to dry.

This one was with acrylic.

I did this one with disk tempera to compare.

Starting with brown, paint dashes around our oval.

With brown we stay away from the white oval.

We then add orange covering some of our brown dashes and work a little closer into the oval.

After orange we add yellow.

As we get into the centre with the yellow add a little white paint to mix a really light yellow.

Set aside to dry.

When the paint is dry remove the tape.

With a pencil or black pencil crayon draw your tree trunk.  You want to come from the corner closest to the centre of your swirl.

You want it to look like you are looking up into the tree.

Using black oil pastel go over your tree trunk lines and fill in.

Now you could just leave it at this point but oil pastel looks better if you blend it a bit.

In my studio I would just use a paper tortillion but at school we don't have them around so the kids use a q-tip.

If my lines are quite fine I will take the q-tip and break and use the little broken end to blend my fine branches.

Here is a comparison of acrylic vs liquid tempera.

The acrylic covers better (more opaque) so your lights are brighter.  For the liquid tempera I added some dashes in pencil crayon in orange, yellow, and light yellow to help with this after the paint was dry.