My Good Shepherd

Paint­ing by Syd­ney, grade 1

When I taught Art at a pri­vate Chris­t­ian School, I would do this les­son every year just before Easter with my first graders. This is one of those projects where the results are totally charm­ing and every­one feels suc­cess­ful.… and the par­ents love them!!

The idea for these adorable water­color sheep came from a set of Usborne Activ­ity Cards — “50 Things to Draw & Paint”. I tweaked it just a lit­tle and added the text down the side. I use every oppor­tu­nity to encour­age stu­dents to prac­tice draw­ing lightly with their pen­cils, and this is another great time to do that!

1. Lightly draw a few guide­lines for what­ever text you choose to write on the left side of your paper. Then add your let­ter­ing. (Explain that “guide­lines” and any draw­ing intended to be traced over are always drawn lightly so you can either erase or hide the pen­cil lines later.)
2. Decide how many sheep you want in your pas­ture and lightly draw a curvy, hor­i­zon­tal line where you would like each of them to stand.
3. Next, lightly draw a hor­i­zon­tal oval shape a lit­tle bit above each of these lines for your sheep’s bod­ies. Draw the sun in the sky. Now you can put your pen­cil away!
4. With a white crayon or oil pas­tel, color in each sheep’s body, press­ing hard and fill­ing in the oval shape.
5. Now, switch to a black crayon or oil pas­tel and trace over your let­ter­ing, the sun, and curvy ground lines. Remem­ber to press hard so your crayon will resist the paint later on! Add some grass here and there, and add legs, heads and tails to your sheep. This is also the time to sign your name with black crayon!
6. The final step is to add a water­color wash over your whole paper. Be sure to work with plenty of water so your col­ors will blend and you’ll get some nice, soft edges. Vary the col­ors in your grass using green mixed with yel­low in some places and green mixed with blue in others.

We usu­ally do this les­son on 9x12 paper, but some­times we fold a piece of 12x18 paper in half so that this paint­ing becomes the front of a beau­ti­ful Easter card. This is a project that is likely to be saved forever!!


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  1. Jesus our Teacher: The Good Shepherd | Sunday School at Holy Family - March 18, 2014

    […] (1.) Water­color Sheep: Use the water­color paper in the sup­ply closet (we have mul­ti­ple sizes, includ­ing 11×17). Ask your stu­dents to use white crayon and draw as many sheep as they would like on the water color paper. Writ­ers may enjoy writ­ing “I am the Good Shep­herd” or “Jesus is my Shep­herd” some­where on the page. All of the chil­dren may enjoy col­or­ing the sun or some land­scape details. Once the col­or­ing is com­plete, use water color to paint the grass and sky. Exam­ple here. […]

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