Studio In a School– Third Grade Tempera Painting Project

Our five-weeklong Tempera Painting Project with the 3rd graders at the Studio was a richly rewarding experience/activity. The teachers also participated enthusiastically in this exploratory project.  Initially, we looked at the beautiful Victorian type houses through pictures from our Rugby Road Neighborhood. In the beginning, we learned vocabulary words such as Victorian, neighborhood and architecture, and a lot more once the project unfolded. We also looked at American painter Edward Hopper’s famous ‘House by the Railroad’ (1925). Through this painting, we learned background, middle ground and foreground.
On the first day, we drew the neighborhood houses of our choice by selecting one from 30 different house pictures. We used a pencil to do this exercise.
In the second week, like professional artists, with brown tempera paint we traced the outline using a round brush. We also understood through Hopper’s painting how artists painted a ‘foundation color’ before starting their painting. We painted a ‘yellow tint’ as a foundation color, like Hopper, by mixing yellow and white.
In the third week, we learned three different kinds of blues: turquoise, cerulean and cobalt. By mixing white paint with these blues individually we painted our beautiful background/sky. We also added yellow with these blues and created different kinds of greens to paint our foreground, trees, plants, bushes and lawns.
The fourth week focused on understanding the middle ground, the building. We mixed red, yellow and white to make the peach color to paint our buildings. Once peach was done, we added blue to it and got ‘payne’s grey’ to overlap the peach color.
The fifth week was devoted to highlighting and going back to the outline. This time we added white to our greens, blues and peach color to paint the highlight. We also used dark brown (mixture of black and red) to outline once again so that our painting is complete.
In all the five weeks we learned a lot of vocabulary words.  We had plenty of demo to look at and lot of reflection sessions to discuss the work we did.
Since we did still life paintings at the beginning of the semester using watercolor, the students had an easy transition to tempera painting methods.
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Erick from Ms. Salzman’s Class is painting the middle ground.
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 ​Wyona from Ms. Lynch’s class                            Dana from Ms. Becker’s class
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 Aayushma from Ms. Becker’s class
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                                                                                           Naba’s house (this one is diagonal from PS 139)
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 Aayushma’s house.                                                    Dana’s house