The VALUE in a Painting



Week 2 of my acrylic painting class for kids age 9-14.

Let me start by saying I research A LOT!!!  My premise for this painting class is:  If I don’t have fun painting the same project as an adult then I am NOT going to ask the kids to do it.  The premise comes from having a 10 year old daughter who DOES NOT LIKE TO BE BABIED.  She wants to paint adult stuff.  She wants to be like mom.  Well, that’s a tall order.  These kids are 30 years younger.  That’s a lot of experience they haven’t experienced yet, but I get it.  I was that way too.

So I found this project via Pinterest:


I would love to give credit to the amazing teacher who came up with such a beautiful way to communicate a very valuable painting lesson.  (<——No pun intended there, but we are speaking about VALUE and tints and shades…) However, as many times as I tried to search for who to give credit to, I kept being led down dead ends.  All I could find was LAKE-MILLS.  I’m assuming it’s the school?  If anyone else knows anything about these images, send it to me and I will include it.

So like a good teacher, I tried it to make sure I could communicate the lesson the best way I know how…

Teaching Depth & Shading

These were my notes.  I hand them out to the kids each week as reference. This way as I’m walking around helping different students, other kids can move ahead with a visual prompt.  The lesson was about communicating distance through light, medium and dark shades.  The three layers of trees are created using a lot of white paint, equal white and black, and a lot of black paint.  Objects in the background always appear lighter because of the gasses in our atmosphere.


It just so happened that there was fog coming through the trees in the back yard this week due to the warm temperatures and left-over snow.  I showed them this photo to hit home just how accurate this phenomenon is.  Thank you LORD for the synchronicity :)

My Class

Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough to snap all the students finished projects, but they got it alright.  What I love about this project is that each persons interpretation of trees is entirely different.  Like nature and like humanity we are all so incredibly different.  So all though everyone was asked to create the same concept, each students work was entirely their own.

So art teachers out there, what else you got?  Do you have any other projects that are a sure-fire-hit?  Do share!

I have a few more up my sleeve, but I’m always looking for more!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  It’s so cool that the internet allows us all to share creativity.

So very cool.


I’ve started filling in my birds…Look how cool my painting looks next to my daughter’s work.  I think they will have to stay together!


  1. What an exciting example. The morning fog so completely shows the concept and the kids work is great. I will have to remember these examples with the grandkids.

  2. I’ve had the same problem with some of things that I find on Pinterest. I want to give credit where credit is due. This is an excellent lesson and I like how you describe the reason for the change in value as you see an object further away. I’ve pinned this page. Thanks!

  3. Do you give kids examples of trees to paint? I find many students are afraid to start because they don’t know how to draw a tree.

    1. You know, I didn’t.I had my sample for them to reference, but really I left it up to them. They didn’t overthink it. None of them came to me with angst. However, every tree was entirely different and that part was pretty cool.

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