Amber is a K-12 art teacher in rural Wisconsin with 10+ years in the classroom.
Claude Monet is a very famous French artist who is considered the father of Impressionism, the study of light in paintings. He wanted to show how natural light presents itself in the world. He painted the waterlilies in his pond many, many times (very large) and also the flowers in the gardens at his home in Giverny, France. He wanted to show how light and color looked different at different times of day.
I was fortunate to view a Monet Waterlilies exhibit in person at the Art Institute of Chicago and was blown away by their size and beauty. I wish all my students could stand next to them; they are amazing. Someday, I will visit Giverny.
Pastel and Tissue Paper Waterlily Projects
Both of these projects are much smaller in scale, yet they're beautiful and simple to do with minimal supplies. They're geared toward elementary-aged children. Bring some spring into your home. Have fun, and create beautiful art!
This project is geared towards using oil or chalk pastels to create waterlilies. Crayons can also be used, but they don't blend as well.
- oil pastels or chalk pastels
- Kleenex for blending (for chalk pastels)
- First, lightly sketch your picture with a pencil.
- Then, start adding pastel blues, purples, and pinks in small strokes all over for the water; greens, yellows and browns can be used for the trees. The bridge can also be done in browns and yellows. Keep in mind, the underside of the bridge and railings on the bridge will all be darker with shadow.
- Next, add colors for the sky if you see it in your picture. This can be done in blues, purples, whites, reds, yellows and oranges, it is your choice. The time of day, year and type of weather is up to you, you are the artist.
- Fill in all the different areas of the picture and start blending together colors while still keeping separate spots of color still noticeable. The color should appear as small strokes and not blend perfectly close-up. It should blend better from a distance or with squinted eyes.
- Note: with chalk pastels (or regular colored chalk) you can use a Kleenex to blend your colors, making sure you do not take all the color away. Apply color back if needed. This does not work as well with oil pastels. As they warm up in your fingers, they will blend better just by overlaying them, you can have layers of pastel on the finished piece.
- Lastly, add light reflections with white, and shadows and details in black for contrast and depth. Add additional shading as necessary.
Tissue Paper Waterlilies
You can also make great waterlilies out of construction paper and tissue paper and a glue stick. I used green construction paper for the lily pad, a small piece of yellow construction paper for the center of the flower and white and pink tissue paper for the flower petals.
- construction paper (green and yellow)
- tissue paper (white and pink)
- glue stick
- First, draw out a lily pad on construction paper (it kind of looks like an oval Pac Man), cut it out and add vein lines radiating out from the center (similar to other leaves).
- Then, cut out circles of tissue paper a little bit smaller than the lily pad. I used 8 pieces for each of my flowers for 8 layers, you can add less or more if you like.
- Place a spot glue down on the center of lily pad and stick one piece of tissue paper down for the bottom layer petal layer.
- Add a dab of glue in the center of the first layer of the flower and repeat until you use all layers of flower petals.
- Glue the yellow center down onto the flower, I also added black dots to the center with a marker.
- Fold the tissue paper up and crunch it around the center to "fluff" the flower layers up.
This should be a three-dimensional piece when done. On one flower, I left each layer as a circle; on the other flower, I cut a jagged star pattern on the edge. You can make yours whichever way you like! Beautiful!
© 2020 Amber White