Sunday, June 30, 2013

Value Landscape Study for Older Grades


 I am taking an online e-course on how to teach art to kids with Patty Palmer at Deep Space Sparkle. Last year I took her amazing course Teaching Art 101 and this year I am taking the next course Beyond the Basics. Patty's blog, her instruction, her's all amazing. I highly recommend taking a course from her or purchasing one of her many lesson plans. Our homework for the second week of her Beyond the Basics course is to create and post a lesson based on one of the lessons she taught us in her first or second week of class, BUT to make that lesson into one that can be taught to a different grade/age level than the one she showed us.


12X18 White Sulphite Paper
Paper Plate for Large Palette
Paint Brushes
Tempera Paints - White, Black, Blue (or color you will be using)
Paper Towels
Black Permanent Marker
Color Wheel with tints, tones, shades (optional)


Grades 4-6
2 Class Periods
Learning how to make color values, landscapes, and include pattern design


 Line, contour, organic, shape, color, warm colors, cool colors, tints, tones, shades, gradient, value, hue, horizon, landscape, foreground, middle ground, background, perspective, depth of field, pattern

Contour  line drawing of landscape

 First, have the students design their landscape contour line drawing, with at least 5 "layers" of landscape features. Show examples of different landscape formation shapes and discuss the concepts of landscape drawing using foreground, middle ground and background and horizon line.  This is also a great lesson to show the students how things get lighter in color as they are farther away.  A color wheel (with tints, shades and tones) to show overhead or pass around the class would be a great addition.

My Blue Value Palette

One the students have their simple line drawing complete, have them choose their main tempera color. They will count how many "layers" there are in their design and make that many different tints and shades and tones, including their original paint color.

Demonstrate this part first - starting in the center of their plate have them make a quarter sized dollop of original paint. Then have them make the corresponding amount of dollops around their plate. The original paint color will be one of their middle layers on their drawing. However many layers they have above the original color will become tints and the students will add white to those dollops - more white equals a lighter tint. However many layers they have below the original color layer will be shades (or tones if you'd like to delve into grays). Those dollops will have SMALL drops of black paint added to them.

Caution the students on how quickly black can "GO WRONG" if added with a heavy hand. That is why we start with small dollops of paint, the dollops will increase in size as we add the black and white. They can start mixing their paint, starting with the tints. Each student should have a paper towel to dry wipe their brush in between color mixing and painting. No need to have water at the tables. It should only be needed for clean-up.

Painting from darkest tones to lightest tints

The students can start at either end of their drawing, working from tints to shades or vice versa, just encourage good brush wiping. Tempera paint is fairly forgiving with it's blending, but they want to keep definite contrast between their mixed tints and shades. They will complete the painting of each layer before wiping their brush and moving on to the next layer.

Value Close-up

If they would like to add some clouds or some top layer element with white, they may do so.

Completed value painting portion

The paintings will dry quickly and next session they can add the permanent marker.


The first step will be to outline each landscape layer. It is fine for some layers to be the same shade but have a line dividing the "mountains" or "hills" in that particular layer. It will make for more fun patterns to be able to include in the next step.

First pattern drawn in

Again, you could show some simple design pattern examples or have the kids generate their own pattern ideas and share some of them on a white board. Some zentangles, though more detailed than desired for this lesson, would be fun to show the students. However, you do want to stress that the color value layers still need to show through the pattern design, or they will lose the effect of the value range of their landscape. So simple designs with less solid lines and shapes are the most desired patterns for this lesson.

 Several patterns together Adding some bubble pattern

When they get to the sky and/or clouds, encourage then to continue with their patterns, still making sure not to overwhelm the lightest part of their painting.

Working on the sky

And there we have it - our value landscape study with added pattern design for older grades!

Finished! More patterns


  1. Wow. This is good! You are a very good student!!! I'll be using this lesson for sure.

  2. Thanks so much, Patty. I must have a good teacher! ;-)

  3. Fun lesson, Kellie.
    I'll use this with my students next year.