Introduction to Mixed Media
Pastels or watercolor paints work great alone, but even better together! Let your child experiment with and experience mixed media art.
What You Need:
- Watercolor paper
- Watercolor paints and paint brushes
- Landscape photos or still-life items
- Soft pastels
What You Do:
- Explain to your child that “mixed media” means the use of more than one medium in creating art. In this project, pastels and watercolor paints will be the “more than one” mediums used to create art in this activity.
- Put newspaper under the watercolor paper. Have your child plan a landscape or still life to draw and paint. If she needs an image to work from, find a magazine for her to search or some items she can sketch.
- Have your child sketch the drawing on watercolor paper with a pencil.
- Fill a cup with water for her to use with the watercolor paints. Have her wet a brush and paint colors to cover and fill in the pencil sketch.
- When she has finished, let the watercolor dry for several hours.
- Next, have her use soft pastels to go over the painted areas to add texture, develop details, and enhance the colors. She should use white pastel over white paints, and black pastel over black painted areas.
- With other watercolor areas, she can either use a similar color pastel over them or use a contrasting color. For example, she can use a “warm” color pastel over a “cool” paint color, or a “cool” color pastel over a “warm” paint color. She does not have to use pastels over every part of the painting, only over areas that she wants to enhance.
- The grainy surface of watercolor paper helps break up the pastel colors and gives a glittery effect to the finished product. The pastels, meanwhile, can complement, deepen, and brighten the paint colors.
- Let your child enjoy her finished mixed media art work. You might even find it suitable for framing!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.