On a crisp winter’s day in December 2010, the garden behind the preschool was looking beautiful following recent snowfall. The trees and bushes were coated with white, emphasising their form and structure. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for an observational drawing project.
Before picking up any art materials, we spent some time looking at the garden through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows along one side of the classroom. We talked about the structure of trees – how the trunk is wider at the bottom than at the top, and has branches growing out from it. We stood with our arms outstretched and likened our legs and torso to the tree trunk, our arms to the branches and our fingers to the smaller twigs growing from the branches. Then we observed how the snow only settles along the top edges of the branches, and in the V shapes where two branches meet.
The children were each given a piece of blue paper, oil pastels in a range of browns, white paint, glue and some dessicated coconut. First I asked them to draw two or three trees or bushes in oil pastels. Then they used fine paintbrushes to paint a strip of white along the base of the paper, before carefully adding the effect of fallen snow along the top side of the branches. Finally, the children added snowflakes by dotting PVA glue across the surface of the paper and sprinkling dessicated coconut over the top, shaking off the excess.
Please click below to view a gallery of the children’s Winter Tree pictures: