We taught this lesson in our painting camp last month and were reminded what a great project it is. Kids learn about perspective, shadowing, color blending and more. Download a PDF lesson plan here: Spherical Paintings Lesson Plan
Age Group: 3rd – 5th grade
- Techniques: Learning about mixing paint colors
- Concepts: Learning about light sources, highlights, midtones, perspective and shadows
- 18 x 24” paper
- tempera paint
- round containers to trace for circles
- water containers
- paper towels
- paper plates to use as palettes
(A note about paper plates: we like to use the coated ones, so they do not absorb the paint and leave less for the students to use. Also each size plate has its own advantages, and we choose which size to use based on the class’ age group and level.
Smaller plates allow for less area for the children to spread the paint around, and keeps it in more controlled areas. This is good for younger kids so they don’t end up using all their paint to cover the plates.
Larger plates provide more area for mixing colors and are ideal for older/more advanced students who need that freedom.)
Organize materials: nothing to set up ahead of time
- Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil and have them write their name on the back.
- Show students an example of the project and talk about light sources, highlights, midtones and shadows. We find a diagram like this is helpful:
- Hand out plastic containers for the students to trace overlapping circles onto their papers.
- Before starting to paint, have children select the colors they will use. For this project, the spheres will be a primary color and the background will be a contrasting color (across the color wheel from the spheres’ color).
- Give each child a paper plate with their selected sphere color paint on it, plus white and black.
- Have the students determine their light source, then first paint the highlighted area of their spheres white. Show them how to follow the curve of the sphere with the paint.
- Next have them paint the midtone of their spheres with the pure primary color. They will next blend the paints right on the paper to create a graduated effect.
- The final step for the spheres will be to have them use black along the shadow edge of their spheres. Again, they will blend the paint on their paper to create the shadow effect.
- Painting the background will complete these projects. Have the children mix up their contrasting color and paint the background of their paintings.
- These painting generally dry rather quickly and can often be taken home the same day.