Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Poppy Portraits

Every year I try to come up with a new art project for Remembrance Day.

This is the one we did this year.

This was with Grade 1 and it worked very well.


- paper for painting, we used watercolour for background and regular white paper for our poppies
- disk tempera paint in blue, yellow, and red
- oil pastels
- black and grey crayons 
- scissors and glue
- masking tape
- black paper, black buttons and poppy seeds
- printed paper with our remembrance day words


I prepped art boards for all the students.  I taped off a border and then a section where the table will be.

We took oil pastels in dark blue, light blue and white and I had them draw circles in the large section of the paper.

Some were very ordered and precise with rows of circles and some just scribbled circles all over.  I found the scribbled circles tended to look better.

The students then painted the large section with blue disk tempera paint.

Set aside too dry.

While our background dries I gave them some extra paper.  One I crimped with my crimper for texture.

On the other piece I had them draw circles again with black and/or grey crayon.

We painted these papers.  I used red disk tempera for the paper with the crayon circles and red acrylic for the crimped.

I was trying to get 2 different shades of red.

Set aside too dry.

Back to the background.  I took the tape where the table is and moved it up so it was on the edge of the blue background.

Now with yellow disk tempera we painted in the table.

I made up sheets of repeating words in different fonts and sizes.  They were all related to Remembrance Day.

We painted them with some watery grey paint.  This is to make it less stark and darken the value (colour value) of this component.

Set aside too dry.

On the back of the paper with the words we draw out a vase.

Cut it out and glue into place on the background.  Make sure it is touching the table.

On the back of our red poppy paper we draw some poppies and cut them out.

You want at least 3.

Before we glue them on we use green pastel and draw in the stems and one or two leaves.

If they are different heights it looks better.

Glue poppies on.

For the centers we used 3 different materials:

- black paper
- black buttons
- poppy seeds

This gave each of them an interesting look and lots of discussion, especially about the poppy seeds.

Finally we outlined our vases with black oil pastel and smudged it a bit.

This helped to visually bring the vase forward in the composition.

That's it.  Great job Grade 1!



  1. Love this! I love how simple shapes like these can be done by either children or experienced artists and look equally as beautiful!

  2. Another great project. Thank you for your generous sharing. I'm going to try a modified version of this with my rehab class in January, when we need flowers and love.