By Olson, Susanna
School Arts , Vol. 105, No. 8
* pictures of rainforest reptiles and amphibians
* 80# 12 x 18" (30.5 x 46 cm) white drawing paper
* assortment of colored tissue paper (bleeding)
* spray bottles for water
* newspaper to cover work surface
* oil pastels
* 14 x 20" (35.5 x 51 cm) tag board, two pieces per student
* acrylic paint
* art paste
* texture tools
* water and containers
* X-Acto knives
* cutting boards
* scraps of colored paper
* paint and brushes
* black fine-tip markers
Rainforest reptiles and amphibians is a vibrantly colored, multimedia art experience. To complete the entire project you may need to dedicate many class periods to production, yet in each aspect of the project a new and important skill, concept, or element is being taught or reinforced. This project incorporates the study of warm and cool color schemes, tissue paper painting, drawing and transferring, oil pastels, texture studies, collage, paste paper production, and framing.
Warm/Cool Tissue Paper Painting
To begin this lesson, define warm and cool color schemes and the mood or feelings associated with these colors. Students begin with a tissue paper "painting." Have them choose a color scheme and then tear a variety of sizes and colors of tissue paper. Ask them to work over newspaper and lightly spray with water a piece of 12 x 18" drawing paper. Students should overlap and arrange the torn tissue on the paper and spray again to make sure the dye is bleeding onto the white paper. Set the paper somewhere flat for drying. When dry, have students remove the tissue and press the paper flat under something heavy.
Introduce students to the idea that many trees grow in the shape of the letter "Y." Have them use a pencil to lightly draw a branch on white drawing paper, leaving a space without branches for a creature to sit. Encourage students to branch out their trees at least four times, resulting in a tree that begins with a thick trunk and ends in very thin branches. Students choose several different shades and tones of earthen-colored oil pastels to blend together to create a realistic looking branch. To create a bark-like texture, use overlapping strokes to blend the colors.
Paste painting is an ancient technique first used by bookbinders to decorate end papers. This texturing technique is a fun, easy way to create beautifully colored papers. You will need a variety of texture tools or found objects like combs, and kitchen utensils to create a texture when dragged through paint.
Before painting, discuss and observe textures in the environment and talk about the type of skin texture reptiles and amphibians might have. …