Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breaching Orcas

Last week was "Shark Week" on on the Discovery Channel. I actually entertained the idea of piggybacking on the theme and doing a shark project. A clearer mind prevailed and I came to my senses! We live at the beach and my students spend so much of their time in the ocean, that might not be the wisest choice for my "Creatures, Great and Small" classes. It's bad enough that our beach has been nicknamed, "Stingray Bay" due to the large number of them. Swimmers are even encouraged to do the "stingray shuffle", a shuffling of the feet to scare away these creatures.

So Orcas won out.(not exactly common in these parts) This was a fun straightforward project for my 2 groups of children, ages 5-10. Following a direct line drawing lesson, Orcas were painted with acrylic and then cut out. The backgrounds were created with dry brushed acrylic oceans and wet on wet watercolor skies. The children were encouraged to create their own unique sky (sunset, sunrise, nighttime, ect.) to set the mood of their mixed media pieces.And last, a splattering of watered down white acrylic to create the splash of our breaching orcas.


  1. Love these Mary- Tina : )

  2. I tried this out as a virtual lesson - so happy i've stumbled across your blog! Thank you!

  3. Hello! Any chance you could give a more detailed explanation of how you did this with your group of students? For someone completely unartistic like myself, it seems very daunting. But you've said it's straightforward and so I would love to try it with my 2/3s!

    1. Hi Denise. Yes, I will try to make it more clear for you. This is a collage project. So I would start out with white drawing paper or construction paper for the orcas. Pinterest has some step by step guides you can refer to for your students. You can use black paint or Sharpie markers once your whale drawing is complete. Have the children cut these out and set aside while the backgrounds are painted.
      The next step could be done on a different day. I used watercolor and acrylic paint. But you could use all watercolor, tempera paints, tempera paint sticks (a great no mess alternative), acrylics or any combination of these materials. Have the children draw a horizontal horizon line across the middle of the page. For a “wet on wet” sky, have them paint the area above the pencil line with water only first. Then they can paint different colors of watercolor using horizontal brush strokes. The colors will run together, so think about colors you might see in a sunset or sunrise. Once that is done they can use blue or blue and green to paint their oceans. Add some water to white acrylic or tempera paint to thin it out a bit. They can take their paint brush and do a little splatter painting to create a splash effect. Let these backgrounds dry completely and then have them use glue sticks to glue their orcas onto their backgrounds.

      I hope this helps! 😊

    2. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! I'm going to give it a try; really hope it works out! Thanks again! :)

    3. Just wanted to thank you again, because they turned out beautifully!


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