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Sunset Cityscapes

Sunset Cityscapes
The examples in this post were done by 1st graders, but older kids will enjoy this, too. “No Rulers Allowed!”…. if you want results that are charming and almost “Seuss-like”!
For a typical class that meets for one hour or less, you’ll want to do this project over 2 class periods.


Directions: (If you have an hour or less, plan to do this project in 2 sessions.)

Session 1:

1. Hang calendar photos of colorful sunsets for inspiration. Ask students what colors they see in the sunsets. Review basic color mixing and how to mix secondary and intermediate colors. (My color wheel lesson can be helpful for this!)

2. Begin painting by sponging clean water over your white paper. (You may want to help younger students with this so the paper doesn’t start to dry before they finish painting.)

3. While the paper is “shiny” and wet, quickly paint a wet-on-wet watercolor wash with bright, “sunset” colors. Allow colors to touch and even run together a little. Suggest to students that they not use any black or brown and remind them that mixing two complementary colors (like purple and yellow) will produce a brownish gray. (Some paint sets allow you to remove the black and brown, which can be helpful for younger students!) 

4. Set paintings aside to dry.

Session 2:

5. Talk about all the geometric shapes found in buildings. Then, on a piece of black 9×12 construction paper, draw a few buildings using a white Prismacolor pencil.  You can draw some examples on the board to show them how easy it is to create a variety of interesting buildings by combining different shapes. (Tell students not to write any words on their buildings, other than their name in the lower right corner.)

6. Have students carefully cut out their buildings, leaving the white pencil outlines intact. (Go over tips for using scissors before turning younger students loose to cut out their buildings!)

7. After the sunset paintings have dried, have students glue their buildings onto their sunset background. Remind them to apply the glue to the smaller piece of paper and press it onto the larger paper. Also, remind them to make their buildings touch the bottom edge of the paper, so they are resting solidly on the ground and not floating in the sky!

8. Mount finished projects on a larger piece of black paper for a truly dramatic effect!

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