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Snowy Winter Birch Trees Art Lesson For Kids

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With snowstorms affecting much of the country this week, snow days and e-learning days are to be expected.  Maybe you’re like me and love the way snow and ice transform the world around us.  It inspires me to create something beautiful.  This might be the perfect solution for at home or at school during this magical season.  This video teaches kids to make a beautiful winter scene using watercolors, tape, and salt.  The salt is what creates the magic.  

To create this painting, start by masking off the edges of the paper.  This will create a polished look at the end when you peel off the tape to reveal a clean border around your painting.  Next, using the masking tape again, block off where your trees will go.  They should be up vertical, but not too perfect.  You can also rip the tape into smaller pieces to create branches. 

This is where teachers can add complexity or simplify these projects for their classes.  More advanced classes or teachers of older students could use this time to talk about composition or other art terms.  You could also keep it simple, you know your class best.

Now that the prep work is done, the painting begins.  The video does a good job of explaining how to paint with watercolors.  They point out to be careful not to put too much on at once and how to work in other colors. The main color used to paint this winter scene is blue, but you can add some purples too if you want to get fancy.  Or keep it simple and only use blue, the magic happens in the next step when you add salt. 

While the paint is still wet, this is very important, sprinkle salt on top.  I know salt is not normally something we use in art, but when it interacts with the watercolors, it creates a beautiful texture.  Make sure you allow it to dry completely before dusting off the salt and peeling off the tape.  The salt absorbs some of the pigment in the paint, creating a speckled or snowy look.  

You could be finished at this point, or you can add details.  Either way, your artwork will look beautiful.  The video shows how to add details like shadows and lines on the birch trees.  You could also add birds or other woodland creatures if you wanted to get really detailed.  For older classes, this would be a good opportunity to talk about shadowing and remembering your light source.  It really is up to you as the teacher how detailed you want to go.

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