First, I taught the technique of masking. Students tore masking tape to create natural looking, leafless trees. I reminded them how to make "Y" branches. They also had the option of making a moon. I taught them the difference between a waning crescent and a waxing crescent. Waning means it's getting smaller and the moon looks similar to the less than symbol in math. The waning moon turns into the new moon and then starts to get bigger. This is called the waxing crescent moon and looks similar to the greater than symbol in math. It turns into the full moon.
|Week 1 - Masking|
Next, students mixed their own custom-mixed watercolor paint by combining blue and either purple, green or black. Students painted in horizontal brush strokes and sprinkled salt on the wet paint. Salt absorbs some of the paint and creates texture in the sky. I explained that this is a physical reaction, not a chemical reaction between the salt and the watery paint.
|Week 2 - Paint the sky|
Next, students rubbed off the salt and carefully peeled off the tape. They were amazed at the cool trees we created. Next, I showed them pictures of real birch trees. We noticed that the marks on the trees go in horizontal lines. Students mixed a darker version of their sky color and, using a small brush, painted details on each tree and branch. The last detail was adding a pale shadow on the dark side of the trees, the side away from the moon.
|Week 3 - Add details|
After the project was complete, students wrote a reflection about the painting. They explained one technique they learned and discussed what was successful about their project.