For this painting, each child chose two adjacent colours on the colour wheel to blend together into a continuous gradient. I encouraged smooth brush strokes, and to attempt a seamless transition between the colours. This can be tricky to accomplish! But look at how their backgrounds resemble sky so beautifully.

Evie and Isla did stripes of their colours. And did their best to get their colours to blend where they met.

Abi painted with long smooth brushstrokes, paying attention to the texture she was creating. Her two colours blended together so well, you can’t tell where one starts and the other one ends. Wonderful job Abi!


Everybody made a unique little forest. Alyssa made the most delicate, wispy evergreens. Isla made a thick and sturdy grove, and Carson painted one big tree in the middle. Each child had such a unique style, and each experienced such success.

In their next class, the kids made evergreen trees with a special fan brush. I was very specific on how to hold the brush, how much paint to load, and how to apply the paint. The boys paid close attention, and were able to make their own amazing trees in a matter of minutes. M and H were exceptionally proud of the resulting effect.

I told them the purpose in having them follow a set of instructions. I wanted them to try something new, and I’m so glad they did. Right away they were off, making their own trees, in a brand new way, as though they had been doing it forever.

Carson was finished his tree in under 2 minutes, while M and H took their time. Carson’s beautiful tree is evidence of his approach; confident, playful, childhood freedom.

M: It kind of looks the sunset!

M was impressed with Carson’s tree.

M: Wow Carson, that’s FANTASTIC.

H: I’m going to do a bush. I’m going to design my own kind of bush. The last thing I need to add when it’s all dry, is the morning dew.

M: I’m going to try to make mine like Carson’s.

Carson: A paper as big as a house, you could probably draw a real tree.

H: That’s called a mural.

When M was finished, I had him step back and look at his picture.

Rachel: How does it look?

M: It looks perfect. … Your tree looks perfect too, H. And yours too, Carson.

M: Maybe Me H and Carson could do a huge mural? Yah, if we got a huge canvas, and them we could each add illustrations on it, trees, bushes, stuff like that. Like make cats playing, and dogs piling on one another, make a big park.

M was genuinely inspired by the results of his tree painting, and I think learned a great deal today, about the value of learning technique, trusting, and following direction, and trying something new.
The next class, the boys each attempted to blend some more skies, on larger canvases. The worked together, confidently, and found out that knew exactly what to do.

M: This is the way the sky looks in the morning. Sunset has more of a purplish in it.