Ahoy, Matey, let’s make a seascape with a lighthouse and lots of fun details! In this Artsy Corgi art activity, you’ll discover an easy way to draw a lighthouse, learn several fun painting techniques, and finish up with some 3-D effects. We call this type of project a mixed-media activity, because we use several different art mediums.
In this post you’ll find:
- Supply list It looks a little long, but most of it is stuff you may already have
- Step-by-step directions
- Helpful hints
- Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
- Vocabulary and art and design elements and principles children will learn
- 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
- Clean-up tips
- Cute Molly Photo
Let’s Make a Seascape!
- Sturdy light blue paper for a background (with light blue paper, you can paint clouds and water on an already sky and water colored background)
- White foam plates make great paint palettes and can rinse off easily for reuse or be thrown away
- Tempera paint in white, black, blue, green, and purple
- Clean damp rags to paint with
- White drawing paper for the lighthouse
- Pencils, erasers, scissors
- Colored pencils, crayons, or markers to color the lighthouse
- Tan or white paper to spatter for sand
- Watercolor set and 2 brushes for spattering
- A fork or old plastic card to make sea grass
- Small sea shells (gathered yourself, or available in craft stores)
- White glue
Directions: (I’ve split these into sections for easier use)
Sea and Sky
- Lightly draw a horizon line to divide the sky and water
- On the palette, pour a small puddle of white and a very small puddle of black, leaving space between each puddle
- Scrunch up your rag or hold it over your index finger to paint
- After looking at clouds outside or in photos, use the rag to paint clouds. They can be fluffy or straight. You may swirl the paint to suggest movement. See the picture at #7.
- If you wish to add gray to clouds, put a little white in another spot on your palette and mix in a tiny bit of black to make different grays. Always mix just a little of the darker color into the lighter color. The opposite way takes way more of the lighter color to change the darker color.
- Add blue, green, and purple to your palette.
- Use these colors or mix together to make the ocean. You may make a calm sea or big swirling waves. Add white to the top of waves for foam.
- Sand comes in all colors, so use a sheet of white or tan paper.
- Swirl a wet brush into the brown pan of a watercolor set.
- While holding it over the paper, tap the brush against the handle of another brush to spatter paint. Use other colors if you wish—maybe some yellows and even a little green and blue for beach glass.
Lighthouse (The camera has distorted some of the lines)
- Look at a glass or towel tube and help children draw a cylinder’
- Look at a picture of a lighthouse and see that it’s a tower, which is a cylinder.
- Some lighthouses taper towards a narrower top, but they are still cylinders.
- Encourage children to look at other details, such as the rounded top or roof and the balconies with railings that often go around the outside. Keepers needed to get outside to keep the glass clean. These railings should curve.
- If children wish they can add some out buildings around the lighthouse tower. Don’t worry about 1-point perspective, unless they’re older and want to learn. There are lots of online tutorials for it if they do.
- Color the lighthouse and cut out.
Putting it all together
- Cut out stretches of sand and glue in place over the water.
- Glue the lighthouse somewhere on top of the sand.
- Use a fork or old plastic card to make sea grass.
- Glue on seashells.
And there you have it–a beautiful seascape with a lighthouse.
More Helpful Ideas and Tips for this Activity
- Painting with rags and spattering paint is fun and easy for all ages, but it is messy, so if the weather cooperates, you might want to do these parts outside in one session.
- You may spatter paint with an old tooth brush and a popsicle stick, but remember to scrape towards yourself. It’s a little counterintuitive, but the other way just spatters you!
- Paint shirts are a good idea !
- To help prevent globs of glue, pour a small glue puddle on a plate and have children use their finger to spread the glue.
- Place waxed paper under things as you spread glue. It keeps things from sticking in the wrong places.
Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:
- Paint a sun setting over the horizon
- Use gray paper and paint lots of black clouds over a stormy sea
- Use black paper and use thick yellow tempera paint to show the lighthouse’s beam of light
- Draw and cut out small ships to sail out in the ocean
- older children may want to get more detailed with their lighthouse drawings.
- Sometimes children get discouraged if their drawing efforts don’t look just as they’d like. Remind them that drawing is a skill just like playing soccer or making a cake. It takes practice and time. Encourage them to try and praise their efforts!
- Younger children may need help cutting and gluing all the parts together.
- You may need a glue gun to make the shells stick.
4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn
- Seascape—a painting that has views of the ocean
- Color: tint=a color plus white, shade=a color plus black—in this activity children learn how to mix tints and shades for the clouds and water. They also learn how to mix just a little darker color at a time into lighter colors.
- Texture: how something feels to the touch, rough, soft, etc. In painting we often simulate texture by spattering, etc.—as children use this different painting technique and spatter paint, they learn about putting texture into paintings.
- Perspective: the ways artists create the illusion of depth in a painting, creating a foreground, middle ground, and background—without getting technical, children can discover 2 ways (differences in size and overlapping objects) to create the 3 distances in paintings.
4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
- Using pencils, brushes, scissors, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
- This activity helps develop visual/spatial skills as children create a picture with 3 distances.
- Making choices in creating art enhances problem-solving skills.
- Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.
Clean up Hints:
- Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
- Have paper towels handy
- A plastic dish tup is great to hold tools you will keep and wash
- Keep a wastebasket handy for trash
- After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.
Before You Go, See Molly’s Photos and More about Lighthouses
If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. You can also learn more about us and see more fun activities on our website
Photos of Molly the Artsy Corgi with a few ocean things
Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.
Molly the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a mixed media art project of the sea and a lighthouse! If you missed them, be sure and go to earlier posts about lighthouses this month—Shipwrecks and Lighthouses and Lighthouses Tall and Small, A Kid-friendly Devotion about Lighthouses.
Next week in our newsletter you’ll discover connections to other subjects, a museum gem with activities for kids online, freebees, book reviews, and links to continue learning about lighthouses!
Molly and I hope to see you back here soon for a new Kathy the Picture Lady art series.