Recently, I had an interview for an art teacher position at Upward Bound in Utah. I asked the internet for a lesson plan, and Mr. Matt Christenson supplied. Thank you, Matt! Here is my painting:
I used these materials:
- 1 spray bottle
- 3 brushes (1.5 inch boar hair student brush, .3 cm mink hair square brush, 1 cm acrylic chisel edged brush)
- 1 flat metal palette knife
- 1 gallon ziplock bag for my palette
- 1 plastic picnic plate
- 2 old socks
- 1 glass jam jar
- acrylic paints: cadmium red hue, cadmium orange hue, cadmium yellow hue, dark cobalt blue, titanium white, vivid lime green
- Strathmore mixed media vellum finish paper notebook
- 4 sturdy rubber bands
- 1 apple
- Ultramarine blue pastel crayon
A word about brushes: wipe them on the old sock in the direction of the brush – metal to tip, away from the handle – pretty thoroughly before cleaning them in water. Before you use them, put your brush in clean water (a drop of soap in the cup of water won't hurt) and then gently fold the cloth over the paintbrush, and wipe it slightly dry. This will give you just enough humidity to keep the acrylic happy, and just enough dryness to keep it from running. Never leave them for more than a couple (2) minutes dry while you are using them.
Step one: make a wash with 1 part ultramarine (or cobalt) and a hint of the red, 6 parts water. Mark off a rectangle on your paper, leaving a centimeter border on all sides. Secure pages to the rest of the notebook with rubber bands, to avoid too much buckling. With your boar hair brush, fill in the page with broad, linear strokes, letting the color pool and play. Let dry flat for a couple of hours.
Step two: cut the apple in thirds, arrange them on a plate or other surface. With your pastel, begin drawing.
Step three: with your .3 cm brush, go over the lines you liked with your blue acrylic paint.
Step four: mix blue and red to make a dark magenta, and, with your chisel edge, touch paint along the edges of your apple. Don't brush. Then mix a quarter teaspoon white, a nail clipping of vivid lime green, a hint of orange, and begin drawing your edging brush from the dark outer rim toward the center core. Don't forget to mist your palette every 5 – 15 minutes, depending on the air's humidity level.
Step five: work outward from the center. Consider every plane. Try to use only the original colors on your palette.
For a fantastic apple painting, here's something from (I kid you not) Linda Apple!
This lesson teaches value scales, unmediated artistic trust in your eyes, materials use, and understanding color interactions (how a blue background changes our perception of the colors we use).
Have fun! Point us to your results in the comments, if you like :)