The Great Wave – Watercolour

As part of our topic this term of ‘Living with the Earth’ we have been talking about Tsunamis, espeically those that have affected the Asian region and countries like Indonesia and Japan.

People often associate Japan and Tsunamis with this famous painting:

Image result for the great wave

The Great Wave off Kanagawa is a woodblock print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusa. It is a very famous image that also features Japan’s most famous mountain, Mt Fuji.

The great size of the wave makes the mountain look minute, and the boats that bob beneath it seem doomed for destruction.  Many people assume The Great Wave off Kanagawa is a tsunami. But scholars who exhaustively studied the print and what we know about waves think it is more likely a rogue wave, or, more scientifically, “a plunging breaker.”

Since it was first printed in the 1820s, many artist has written about, studied, copied and made their own version of ‘The Great Wave’. You can create a simple watercolour inspired by this great scene.

Based on the painting The Great Wave off Kanazawa by Katsushika Hokusai, kids draw and paint their own version of Mount Fuji and the great wave.

Based on the painting The Great Wave off Kanazawa by Katsushika Hokusai, kids draw and paint their own version of Mount Fuji and the great wave.

This drawing is broken up into three sections:

  • Foreground (first two waves)
  • Middle Ground (main wave)
  • Background (horizon line and Mt. Fuji)

Then the white caps of the waves and the stripes inside the waves are added.

Trace all your lines with black oil pastel.

For painting, using different blue watercolour paints inside the waves. Add some brown to Mt Fuji and use warm colours (yellows, reds, oranges etc) for the sky, to show sunrise or sunset.

Based on the painting The Great Wave off Kanazawa by Katsushika Hokusai, kids draw and paint their own version of Mount Fuji and the great wave.

Wintry Landscape

Our first Term 3 Artwork is going to be a Wintry Landscape. Let’s get inspired by the works of artist Caspar David Friedrich.


“Winter Landscape” 1811



“Winter Landscape with Church” 1811



“Oak in the Snow” 1827-1828



“Snow Covered Hut” unknown


“The Abbey in the Oakwood” 1809-18`10


“Dolmen in the Snow” unknown


“Graveyard Under Snow” 1826

monastery graveyard in the snow

“Monastery Graveyard in the Snow” 1819

Unfortunately, this artwork was destroyed during the air-raids of World War II, and Friedrich only had this black and white photograph of the actual painting. It is said to have been one of his best, most haunting artworks.

Many other artists have recreated “Monastery Graveyard in the Snow” as a homage to Friedrich. See this almost perfect version below, by a Japanese artist.

klosterfriedhof_im_schnee japanese tribute

Friedrich was a Romanticist painting. The Romanticists artworks were full of storytelling and emotions, he was not just painting the landscape and weather but a certain mood that goes with it.

What sort of moods do these artworks create?

Our artwork is going to consist of a bare winter’s tree in the snow. Here are some ideas for inspiration.

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Let’s look at this video to see an easy way to paint trees!



Still Life with J. P. Getty


– recognise the features of a still life artwork

 – show depth using oil pastels and baby oil


I can name 4 things that are found in still life artworks

I can recall the name of 3 artists who painted still lifes

I can describe the shape of objects in still lifes

I can choose the correct oil pastel colours

I can use a little black and white to show depth

I can blend colours using baby oil


What do all these artworks have in common?


Flower Still Life” by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, 1614


Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Pomegranate” by Jacob van Hulsdonck (about 1620-1640)

paul cezanne still life with applesStill Life with Apples” by Paul Cezanne 1893 – 1894

What is a Still Life?

A still life (plural still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).

See more here, here and here!

You can see many still lifes at art galleries. The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has over 300! Miss B visited the Getty in 2007 and 2015.



030 Me and Kyong reunited again




This one is one of Miss B’s favourite’s:


Fruit Piece” by Jan van Huysum 1722

Here it is on the wall in its frame.



And here it is close up. Wow!


A simple still life to do is a plate or bowl of fruit. Miss B can show you how to draw your fruit and how to colour it to make it look shiny or in the shadows and not flat.DSCN2490

We can use baby oil to help blend colours.DSCN2491

Clay Succulents Sculptures

Our final artwork for term 3 is to make as sculpture of some cacti or succulent plants in a pot.

Here is a class in America who did a similar sculpture.

We will be using two types of clay, both air drying. Our fist step will be to make the pots. 

We will be using the coil pot method.

You can choose to smooth the inside only or the outside too. Once our coil pots are dry we will paint them bright colours.

We will then use some clay to make the actual plants. Here are some photos for inspiration.

Let’s have fun with the clay! Hopefully it will not be a disaster like last time!