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Sample Lesson
Grade 5
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Watercolor Apples


Visual Art Standards:

1.1 Identify and describe the principles of design in visual compositions, emphasizing unity and harmony.

Elements and Principles of Art demonstrated in lesson:


Curriculum related to lesson:

dotSocial studies, science (color theory)

Lesson Description:

Students will draw 3 apples from observation, paint apples using shading with analogous colors . They will paint shadows using opposite colors. They will select background colors to emphasis the apples.

Objectives of Lessons:

Draw from life, noting shapes of apples, their highlights and shadows. Overlap objects.
Warm colors in foreground and cool colors in background. Blending of colors to show form.


dotapples for your models
dot8½"x11" white paper
dotmasking tape
dotwatercolor sets
dotwater containers
dotpaper towels
dotdrawing paper 9"x12"
dotor 7½" x 11" watercolor paper


Step 1. Observe apples on white paper.

Step 2. Is the apple a circle or a sphere?

Step 3. Is the top wider than the bottom?

Step 4. Draw the contour or outline of the apple that is closest to you. (This will be lowest on your paper.)

Step 5. Draw the next apple slightly higher and partly covered by the first apple.

Step 6. Draw the third apple still higher on the page and slightly behind the first apple. This will add depth to the picture.

Step 7. Draw the apples' shadows.

Step 8. Add 2 diagonal lines for the white paper.

Step 9. Place small pieces of masking tape on each apple for the highlights. Draw a section for the shadow or dark side of the apple.

Step 10. Paint the front apple first, using orange for the light side, red for the middle value, and violet for the dark value.

Step 11. Red may be painted over the entire apple to unify the colors. (If a child would like to paint green apples, that's fine, use yellow on the light side and blue on the dark side.

Step 12. Next paint the background. Turn the paper upside down to prevent smearing the wet paint. Use a cool color or a combination of two cool colors. (For example: blue and violet or blue and green)

(If a child would like to paint green apples, that's fine, use yellow on the light side and blue on the dark side. Use warm colors in the background.)

Step 13. Paint the shadows next using two opposite colors. (As: red and green, yellow and violet, or blue and orange)

Step 14. Now the background should be dry and you can paint the last two apples, using analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel, orange, red, and violet.)

Step 15. Paint stems last. Details last. The stem can be painted with the handle of the paintbrush. When paint is dry remove the masking tape from your highlights and add your signature.

If the white paper has drips, the student can paint it to look like a table, using light browns.


Watercolors can be fun and challenging. Given the right steps, color theory can be appreciated.