March 29, 2011

Painting 101

Dip painted flowers by Zak

This is our first ever set of lessons on how to paint. I was so impressed with the lesson book (I Can Do All Things)  and with my boys! I did not know they could do the nice job they did. They were pleased too. We are interjecting basic art skills lesson in between artist studies/picture studies. So after we finished exploring and getting to know Edgar Degas we learned a bit about basic drawing skills then we got to know Van Gogh, next we began painting 101.

Getting started was not hard, or expensive. I purchased I Can Do All Things along with the paintcards, a set of brushes for each boy, and a set of basic paint colors (red, blue, yellow, white, and black)  from How Great thou Art for under $60. Considering I Can Do All Things is a 4 year art curriculum with lesson in, drawing, colored pencils, markers, painting, art history (a little bit) and an art journal introduction it is well worth the $40. I only purchased one book and then a set of paint cards for each of the boys. So in all you only need;
 I Can Do All Things Text
Paint cards
Set of primary paints with black and white
set of three sizes of brushes
Tin cans for water
Aprons or old shirts

Dip painted flower by Max.

I have a degree in fine arts which I found did not help me one bit. You forget things as you get older. Also things you do habitually are hard to remember to teach. I found I Can Do All Things a wonderful help to me to remember what fundamentals are important to teach, and what new beginners need to know to be successful. I simply read the lesson word for word out of the book and we attempted to do what he recommended. It was an easy, relaxing and fun seris of lessons for us all.

TJ finishing lesson #1

Lesson #1 is about primary colors.
But before we got into that we learned from our book rules and regulations for painting. I found these so helpful. It kept the boys on track and gave concrete things to do right to have success while painting. Here are some of the things he recommended:
How to set up your painting area so you don't drop your sleeve into you picture.
How to mix paint by adding dark to light.
Have two water container one for dirty and one for clean.
Fill your water only half full so you don't splash.
How to store your brushes.
What size brush to use.
Don't scrub your paint.
How to clean up.
Zak on Lesson #1

Primary Colors Lesson #1

What happens when you mix white to red? Black to red? White to blue? Black to blue? white to yellow? Black to yellow? That is basically the lesson.

Max 'the careful one' is last to finish but his work is precise and well done. Good job Max!

I love that Max mixed up more than on kind of light blue to make his bird more interesting.

TJ is finishing up lesson #2.

Lesson #2 is about Secondary Colors.

Yellow + Red = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green

Then.....what happens if you add white and black to those. That is the lesson.

Max painting.

Color Chart.

Lesson #3 Making a Color Chart

How do you make flesh color? brown? Violet? etc. We were very interested in making flesh tones which isn't all that easy. Brown was difficult too. But it was fun!

Dip painting.

Lesson #4 Dip Painting

What do you do with left over paint? Try dip painting. Dip painting is simply mixing the paints on your picture instead of your palette. It is a great way to use up extra paint and experiment with color too. I love the way it looks in the end, very painterly.

Close up of Zak's dip painted flower.

There are 24 lessons on painting. In this series we only did 4......20 more to go! It was a good start, and a good way to find out what painting is all about. But we have more artist studies to fit in this year so we will be back to paint some more later. On to Monet!

UPDATE 05/06/2011

Lesson #5 Painting With Control

1. Did you stay in the lines?
2. Did you take your time painting?
3. Does your artwork look nice?

Painting with control by TJ.

Lesson #6 Light Side and Shaded Side

Did you know that if you add blue to red it gets darker? or if you add yellow to red it gets lighter? We played around with colors and lighted some sides and darkened others.

Lighte side and shaded side by TJ.

UPDATED 6/3/2011
Lesson #7 Autumn Colors
"Did you ever notice all the different colors of leaves in Autumn? See if you can make some rust colors by adding dull orange to yellow, red, green. A dull orange is yellow plus red and a speck of blue." Barry Stebbing
We mixed several different kinds of fall colors and painted the small leaves at the top of the page with those colors. Then, the boys picked out the color they liked best to paint the larger leaves on the page.

Lesson #8 How Now Brown Cow
Zak's Bunny.
"Brown is an easy color to mix. You should learn how to mix many different kinds of browns because there is so much brown around you....Let's see how many browns you can make with the primary colors." Barry Stebbing.
We discovered that when we mixed secondary colors (orange, green and violet) with a dab of the color missing color (orange would be missing blue) then you get many different browns.

Zak's paint card.
Once we had made a nice brown we played around with lightening and darkening it. Orange with a seck of blue gets lighter when more yellow is added. What happens when we add more red? or more blue?

Zak's cat.
Lesson #9 Tropical Fish

Zak's fish with tropical colors we made using lots and lots of white.

Max's Fish.


  1. I have this curriculum too. It is great!

    My problem is scheduling for it. With 4 kids, I have a hard time trying to do regular school, along with extra stuff like art painting. How do you organize your time? What does your schedule entail?

    If you don't mind me asking.... :)

  2. Hi Sara...I don't mind you asking. :) I use a planner created by Sonya at Simply Charlotte Mason to set my main schedule. Working through her steps one by one from the broad picture down to the details really helped me to understand how to build a schedule that is both comprehensive and flexible. After that, it is a matter of a few things I keep to strictly. We only do 20 minute lessons and only 5 lessons a day. I have eight subjects so some like art and science we only do twice or three times a week. I organized my eight subjects by core and electives. The core subjects happen every day, the electives are two or three times a day. Here is how it looks in the week:

    Core subjects: 3R's, bible, read aloud and history
    Electives are: botany, art, music, latin, memory verse

    Monday: 3r's, history, latin, botany
    Tues: 3R's, history, music, art
    Wed: 3R's, history, memory verse, botany
    Thurs: 3R's, history, music, art
    Fri: 3R's, history, memory verse, botany

    Bible is done by Dad at breakfast and read alouds done before bedtime by me.

    With a subject like art I like to have that lesson end the lessons for the day so they can work at their own pace. Also I rotate between art skills like painting and picture/artist studies so we get a full wide rich look at art and it keeps the lessons varied.

    I hope this is helpful. I recommend Sonya's planner to anyone needing help organizing like I did. She makes a whole pile of books and ideas sort themselves out beautifully and you feel free to be flexible in the midst of it. Once I had planned out one year and got the feel for how it worked I have been able to do it on my own. But her first initial ideas and step by step questions to answer for yourself were soooo helpful.


  3. Thanks Sarah! I have not completely done Sonya's planner yet. I need to!

    Thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog too. It is very timely.

    Blessings to you!