Initial Letter Painting

This tempera project is done with second grade and only takes one class period- bonus!

Students choose a 12" X 12" piece of construction paper. I pre-cut these and have enough different colors so that no student has the same color.

I also put out enough colors of tempera (in a small dish) so that each student has their own color. The trick is to complete the painting without repeating any color.

Have students turn their paper on the diagonal and paint their initial large enough so that it extends off the paper on all sides. I usually have some students who cannot visualize this, so I will draw it on the board for them to see. Also, I have them make the letter nice and fat.

Students return their paint cups and choose a different color to outline their letter. I have them drop their brush in the sink and pick up a different one as it saves time. I was them as they are doing this step.

Students return their paint and brush and again choose new. For this step, I have them make a striped design in the background of their painting; wavy, ziz-zag, dashed, etc. I demonstrate beginning in the center of their painting, which is still on a diagonal, and connect the corners and work their way up and down.

Students return their paint and brush for the last time and choose new. This color is used to add a pattern inside their letter. Some students make polka dots by using the end of their brush handle. Larger, bamboo brushes work great for this.

These paintings are quick, fun, and colorful!

Possible artist tie-in: Jasper Johns


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