Tuesday, February 3, 2015

getting in the pond with Melissa.

The kinders are continuing their value unit this week. The focus image was done by American illustrator Melissa Sweet.  I love the soft touch with color that she displays in many of her illustrations. The 3rd graders are going to be working from an illustration she did for a book about Horace Pippin later this week as well.

We started the lesson by reviewing the vocabulary we used in the Budi Kwan project from last week- value, light, dark, soft, hard, and oil pastels. This project used all those too, but the 2 projects/artworks look a a lot different from each other.

Students identified the things they saw in Melissa's painting. We talked about how the painting is of a frog and it's habitat. (science connection for the win;) I guided them to also recognize that some of the lily pads were dark and some were light and the flower has dark and light pink petals.

The lesson is pretty straightforward-

1.  Draw the flower. Start with an oval and add a couple sets of bump patterns around it for the petals.
2.  Draw the line that separates the ground from the pond. Overlapping!
3.  Draw a few lily pads. Have at least one go off the page. I referenced pac-man for the shape. I also pointed out that the lily pad shape is a big "C" with a "V" cut into it.
4.  Draw the frog. It starts out the same as the lily pads, but you also add an "m" for where the eyes go.
5.  Color the lily pads with greens. Press hard on a couple and light on a couple. Color the petals of the flower. Press soft on the inside and light on the outer ones.
6.  Color the frog. Press hard with yellow and then softly with a green to make it a bit different than the lily pads.
7.  Color the ground softly with brown. Press hard to add a shadow underneath it. Use the side of the oil pastel to color a large area easily.
8.  Color the water of the pond with blue and/or purple.
9.  Write a guided sentence or two about the project. Students can count how many lily pads they have or describe how they made or used light and dark.


  1. I love the writing element. I am doing a similar lesson, and I may steal this part to extend it. TKS

  2. Hello Mr. Masse's kinder class,

    Your interpretations of this frog and flower from Firefly July prove you're not only seeing the shapes, but the color values, and you noticed that the frog was after that fly!
    I hadn't even thought about the shape of the lily pad until Mr. Masse pointed out that it was a "C" with a "V" cut out of it. I learned to draw using simple shapes just like you're doing. In fact, I still begin my drawings this way. I love your frogs and flowers. Thank you to Mr. Masse for sharing them, and to you for inspiring me. Melissa Sweet.

  3. Hey Melisaa, I loved your blog, and I am sure my kid will love to paint. You have shared such nice tricks. You have guided so wonderfully that even my kid who is in Phoenix kindergarten can understand it easily. Well, thanks for such a great share.