Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Pastel Landscapes

For this 2-day project, 3rd Graders started by observing the snowmen in the book, Snowmen in the Night, noticing how the light shining on the spheres of the snowmen created a 3D impression. We also noticed how the snow was shaded in various places. There are many scenes in the book to observe how large snowmen appear closer and are placed near the bottom of the page, and smaller snowmen placed higher on the page give the appearance of distance. We discussed foreground, mid-ground and background in landscapes.

I demonstrated how students could cut a  9" X 12" piece of white drawing paper to create 2 pieces that would be their snow and a center piece that we would use for one of the snowmen. I had some extra smaller pieces of white paper for those who wanted to make a smaller snowman.

Students positioned one of the side pieces above along the bottom of their landscape paper and the other one overlapping it on the other side to create two hills of snow, one behind the other. A few kids had trouble with how to do this spatially. 

They shaded the back hill where it met the front hill. (See examples further down.)

Next we used the center piece of drawing paper to make a snowman, shading one side where the moonlight would not be hitting it. The only tip here is to ask kids to use the side of their pastel and not to press too hard. They blended the pastel with their finger. I had an assortment of blues, purples and grays for them to choose from.

Students used their scraps to color accessories, using plain crayons. I had them use glue stick to affix the snow and snowmen before they started the caps, scarves, etc. They colored and added those as they went. They used pastels to make a moon in the sky.

On Day 2 students used white tempera and pastels to create trees in the distance. They dip the pastel in the paint and, starting at the bottom of the tree, zig zag up and down from left to right. When they no longer see white, it is time to re-dip. They move up the tree making each layer a bit shorter, until they reach the top of the tree. This is a fun technique that can actually be used to make a whole snow scene, people and all!

Of course, kids invariably found their own way to make trees, which is just fine!

The final step was to add snow. We used the white tempera and applied it by stamping with a cotton swab. I cut those in half, since they really only need one side. Might as well conserve when we can!!

Can you find the little guy wearing a sombrero? LOVE IT!!!!


  1. Great lesson! I am definitely saving this one!

  2. These are lovely! I appreciate how ou got the students to make great use of their sheet of white paper by the way you cut it, and I'm a big fan of dipping chalk pastels into white paint! I love the look!

  3. I love this process, too. Of course you are left with a lot of pastels with that hard coating of white paint that has to be chipped off before they can be used again!! I have 2 buckets full of them -- literally!!!