Friday, 15 June 2012

Winter Birch Trees

By Jeff (Year 1)
 Lesson Background:
The icy cold winter weather inspired me to search for a winter art activity and I found this one on Deep Space Sparkle: It has also been posted by quite a few other art blogs, including Mary Making:

Lesson Materials: (per child)
Coloured tissue paper (blues, purples, reds, oranges, yellows)
PVA glue
1 thin paintbrush
1 thicker paintbrush
2 sheets A3 art paper
Black watercolour paint
Lead pencil

Lesson Steps:
1.  Look at pictures of birch trees and discuss their shape and features.
2.  Using a lead pencil, draw a line across the art paper (landscape position), about a hands-width from the top of the page.
3.  Tear up pieces of coloured tissue paper in either daylight sky colours (we used navy, light blue and pale purple) or in sunset colours (red, orange, yellow).
4.  Glue the tissue paper pieces onto the top section of the art paper (from the top of the page until the line you have drawn), overlapping the pieces and leaving no white gaps.
5.  Smooth the tissue paper out by gently painting over the tissue paper with a little PVA glue.
6.  On a separate sheet of A3 art paper, draw 4-8 birch trees with a lead pencil, starting from the top of the page.  Make them about the width of a finger and include a few small bumps and inconsistencies.  The trees should be different sizes and slightly different shapes.
7.  Using black watercolour paint and the thin paint brush, outline the trees.
8.  Water-down the black paint to make grey.  Using the thicker paintbrush, paint a strip about half the width of the trees down each tree on one side, as the shadow.
9.  Using the skinny brush in black paint, paint thin markings and scars on the trees.
10.  Leave the trees to dry.
11.  Cut the trees out and stick them onto the coloured backgrounds using PVA glue (ensuring the top of the tree is pasted on the very top of the coloured background). 
12.  Discuss how shadows work, including demonstrating where our shadows are in relation to the sun and our bodies.
13.  Using watered-down black watercolour paint (to make grey), paint a diagonal stip below each tree to make a shadow.
14.  Using black watercolour paint and the skinny paintbrush, paint thin wispy stands of grass around the bases of the trees and anywhere else on the snowy background.
15.  For artworks with the daylight skies- press a white oil pastel down in little blobs, to make small snow flakes on the coloured background.

Sample Artworks:

By Gabe (Year 2)

By Nive (Year 1)

By Sebaga (Year 2)
By Paige (Year 1)
By Marlo (Year 2)
By Ashley (Year 2)
By Dora (Year 2)
By Charlotte (Year 2)
By Austin (Year 1)
By Joss (Year 1)

1/2B artworks
1/2B artworks
My guided artwork


  1. Well done, Owls! You all did a fantastic job!

  2. these look so good i'd like to walk into one and make a snowman.

    1. Hi 1/2B,
      Miss Knox here.
      These pictures are amazing, I am very very impressed.
      I love all the beautiful colours you have used and the shadow effects on the snow.
      They make me cold just looking at them!!
      Well done everyone.

      I miss you all!

    2. thanks for your comment miss Knox!

  3. I liked doing birch trees because they are fun!

  4. Austin and gabe you have great artworks but they are all great. they are epic.

  5. Austin and Sophia23 May 2013 at 10:33

    I love your picture Joss, the trees look like there real and the shadow looks real too!!!!!!!!!