DrawAble: Exploring Through Watercolour by Emma Burleigh Part Three

By Emma Burleigh

Emma is an artist, writer and teacher with a passion for watercolour and the way it links to mental and spiritual wellbeing. As part of the DrawAble series of resources for learning at home or school, Emma shows young learners how they can develop and enhance their watercolour paintings by adding other materials such as chalk, oil pastel and pencil crayon.

Oil pastel and pen painting by Emma Burleigh

What is the aim of this exercise?
This resource encourages children and teenagers to use the watercolour painting skills gained through Emma Burleigh’s previous videos, and to enhance them by adding mixed media. A wide range of materials can be used in this activity, giving young learners a high degree of creative control and a chance to try media that is new to them.

What age can this exercise be used with?
This resource is suitable for participants aged 6+ and can be easily adapted for older children, teenagers or even adults.

How long does this exercise take?
This exercise will take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. The length of the activity depends on the complexity and the level of details that learners would choose to add to their paintings.

How do I measure success?
Success will be measured by the children’s level of concentration, involvement and interest.
More able or engaged children may demonstrate a willingness to try more types of media, and may be more keen to experiment with their paintings.

Encourage children to attempt different media, and remind them that the activity is open-ended – they may not know what the end result will be like, but will have learnt a new artistic skill in the process.

What can we try after this exercise?
Exploring Watercolour at the Fitzwilliam Museum: an introduction to watercolour and exploring watercolour in the studio
Painting the Storm at Bourne Primary Academy is a weather-inspired exploration of watercolour and graphite
Try other DrawAble exercises and projects.

Which artists might we look at?
You may want to look at classic and contemporary painters:
J.M.W.Turner – sketchbooks, drawings and watercolours
Talking Points: Paul Cézanne 
The dream like pictures of Marc Chagall
Emma Larsson takes inspiration from nature for her organic forms
You may also want to look at Emma’s other art and projects.

Once your watercolour painting is dry, there are lots of things you could do to develop it further, if you like. Sometimes I do a watercolour painting, but then I mix in other art materials. What do you have at home, or at school?
You could try using coloring pencils, oil pastels, soft pastels. You could try collaging with tissue paper and glue sticks, or you could use a pen such as a Biro or a felt-tip pen. And there are probably loads of other things I’ve not even thought of that you could try!

Drawing Materials by Emma Burleigh
Here are a few watercolour paintings I’ve made which include some of these art materials. This one uses oil pastel and pen:

Oil pastel and pen painting by Emma Burleigh

In this one, I’ve used Biro:

Biro and watercolour painting by Emma Burleigh

And sometimes I use collage. I stick pieces of tissue paper over parts of the painting, and then draw and paint on top.

I like working into watercolour paintings that haven’t gone very well. If there’s a painting that I think is a bit boring, or I don’t know what to do with it next, then sometimes adding more materials on top can be the answer to pushing it further.

Colourful mixed media painting by Emma Burleigh
Adding mixed media to your watercolour painting
So here’s a not-so-interesting watercolour I made earlier, and I’m going to see what I can do to it with some of the art materials we’re talking about.

Not so interesting watercolour by Emma Burleigh
If you’ve got a painting that you’re not sure you love yet, why don’t you try a few things at the same time as me? You don’t have to turn it into a beautiful painting. We can just experiment without any particular idea of what this painting is going to become. We’re just getting to know how these new materials look when you add them on to watercolour.

Here, I am using colouring pencils and fineliner pens, drawing shapes on top of the watercolour:

Adding mixed media by Emma BurleighAdding mixed media 2 by Emma Burleigh
Could you layer different colours on top, make different textures, draw new details, make the painting three-dimensional using collage? Could you rip it up and reorganize it with Sellotape? It’s up to you now to do anything you like, and really to push it as far as you can. Try anything, and have fun!

Adding mixed media 3 by Emma Burleigh

Here’s what I made:

Finished mixed media painting by Emma Burleigh
I’m really looking forward to seeing what you make, too!

This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1500 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.

See This Resource Used In Schools...

Year 1, Winslow CE School
Year 1, Winslow CE School
Year 1, Winslow CE School
Year 1, Harting C of E Primary School
Year 1, Harting C of E Primary School
Year 1, Harting C of E Primary School
Year 1, Harting C of E Primary School
Year 1, Harting C of E Primary School