Rock Painting in the Classroom

School Art Activity:
Rock Painting

school painting
Rock Painting

LEVEL: Pre-school and Early Primary.
Bringing the outdoors into your creative art time is so much fun for children.  A brilliant way to bring creative inspiration into their mind and also is helping kids to be inspirational with nature.   Rock painting is fun and a real adventure. This is a great sunny day activity.

You will need:
: Tempera poster paint or an acrylic. 
 The Tempera will offer a temporary coating while most acrylics are permanent.  Some of the budget brands may not be permanent. Read the label first.
: Rocks in interest shapes and sizes and also you may use big flat leaves.
: Plastic table top or you can cover a table with a plastic sheet.
: Paint brushes
: Glue or PVA
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels – for clean-up.
Let’s get started:

Start off by taking the kids on a nature walk and as you walk you can collect interesting shaped rocks.
Prepare the work area with a plastic sheet and put on the aprons. 

Arrange the rocks and leaves on the table and talk to the children about what they can see in the different shapes.  Like a mouse, ladybird or a fish.
Use a paint brush and your tempera paints to start creating.  Painting and repainting the rocks can lead to hours of enjoyment.

Allow to dry. You can use glue or a black marker to add eyes, ears and a nose when the paint is dry.
-          Pick rocks that have animal like shapes.
-          Try to pick clean looking rocks, you may need to wash some of them.
-          If you have acrylic paints use them but be careful as the better brands are permanent.
-          Make use of the autumn leaves that are lying on the ground. 
Flat printable leaves are best.  They make brilliant colourful artworks.

Share and enjoy.
Tony Parker
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Rock Painting - School Painting:

Looses is no excuse, artist painting tip

Painting looses is no excuse...
By Ron Gribble 
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When I see a painting that is painted ‘loose’, I immediately look to see if it is accurate in the draughmanship.
school paints ron gribble

By loose, I mean ‘Broad brush’, with impasto brushstrokes, or like pallet knife work.

I had this discussion once with an ‘educated’ artist – who suffered many years in art school to learn the trendy definitions but with little practical application.

I pointed out that is you want to illustrate a subject (in this case, a boat) in a landscape there are certain rules to obey.  My friendly degree holder retorted, “There are no rules in art”.  My response was “If that is true, what did you spend six years learning”?  I did not get an answer!

Of course there are rules, a you must obey them if you want to accurately give the impression of the subject. The trick id to them so well that you know how to bend them, and which ones to bend, to your own agenda.

Do the horizons run uphill? No!
Do the colours get darker as they come forward? Yes
Do objects get larger as they come forward? Yes.
Does water run uphill? 

Do shadows show more than one light source in the landscapes?  I could go on!

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble

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Leaf Paint Prints School painting for kids

Leaf Paint Prints using school paint for kids:

LEVEL: Pre-school and Early Primary.
Leaf Paint Prints
Leaf Paint Prints using school paint for kids.

Make use of the autumn leaves that are lying on the ground.  Take a look around your home or school for flat printable leaves.  They make brilliant colourful artworks.
You will need:

: Tempera poster paint.
: Large flat leaves. Ones that have a great full leaf look are the best.
: Plastic table top or you can cover a table with a plastic sheet.
: Sheets of paper and cardboard.
: Paint print roller & dish for roller
: Glue or PVA
: Apron and a cover sheet or newspapers – plus paper towels – for clean-up.

Let’s get started:
Prepare the work area with a plastic sheet and put on the aprons.  A flat surface is better that an easel.
Arrange the leaves in your preferred design onto your cardboard sheet.  Glue the leaves onto the card in a flat design. Allow to dry.
Pour a small amount of paint into the dish and move the print roller through the paint until you have a good even coating.
Roll paint with the roller onto your glued leaves.  See tips below.
When you have a good even coating of paint on the leaves, you can lay your sheet of paper on top being careful not to move the paper up and down too much.  Rub the back of the paper with your dry clean hand.
The raised paint rolled leaves will offer impressive designs that show the edges and the veins.   
Hang up and allow to dry.  


  • Thinner paint works best.  Finger paint is often too thick.
  • It is important to make you’re the roller has an even coating of paint.

Share and enjoy.

What is composition in artist painting?

By Ron Gribble

I will attempt to address the composition in artist painting question.
That is, the arrangement of the elements, of a subject to compliment the focal points and create a harmonious, inviting place for the viewers eye to rest in. Probably not the best definition in the world, but will do for now.

To achieve all of the above, a good composition should have all or most of the following:
scale design school paints

:Primary point of interest
:Area of mystery
:Non-geometric arrangement of elements

There is a lot of personal preference involved in all of this, but lets take a ‘broad brush’ look.

Foreground, Mid-ground and Background:

Yes, even still life, or ‘key hole’ subjects. You should be showing depth. One of the three maybe very under stated, but leave it out altogether at your own risk.
Eye Path:

That is, an element of work that guides the viewer though and into the point of interest and deposit in the ‘area of mystery’ (see below).
Primary Point of Interest:

The reason the work was achieved for.  What you want to be dominant – this is your message. There can be no lesser points of interest but this one is painted in such a way as to hold the eye.
Area of Mystery:

An area that is so understated, that is in not obvious as to what you are saying. Soft focus? Misty? Distant?  Let the viewers interpret this from their own point of reference.

There should be something the viewer can latch onto to give the whole work scale.  Answer the question. How big am I? Is that rock a mighty mountain, or a pebble?  How big is that tree, mountain, waterfall, water expanse?
Put something that the viewer can use to make comparison. A huge ocean liner under, dwarfed by an expanse of water or mountain, will do a different scale job, than putting in a rowboat.

A figure or two, an animal or three, even a fence line will help.  We all know how big these are compared to ourselves.

Non-geometric Arrangement of Elements:
Keep the vital things away from the middle. Try thinking in terms of thirds. Points of interest details of elements arranged a third up from the side, and a third in.  Think in shapes and vary them one tree on a hill, flowers, rock on whatever is not going to be going to be made five times more interesting by adding five more.  The reverse is more true. Not all elements sloping in the same direction.

Thank you to those who have e-mailed me with comments – it makes all work worth if you enjoy this blog.

Happy Painting

Ron Gribble
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Artist Painting Tip, Start Thin Finish Fat

Start Thin Finish Fat  
By Ron Gribble

There are very good reasons why artists do this. 

First lets define ‘thin’ and ‘fat’
Thin – meaning that the paint is put on the canvas thinly. 

This may mean that you have mixed a quantity of medium with it to thin it or it may be that you have simply ‘scrubbed’ it onto the surface so that is applied very thinly.

Fat – meaning paint that is ‘Impasto’
i.e., straight out of the tube and applied in bolder thicker chunks.
Artist ron gribble school paints

Why thin first?

I have two very good reasons that I can think of instantly, and other lesser reasons.

If you lay down a ‘fat’ paint area you are limited to what you can do over the top of it.  Try painting fat on fat and you will get mud when painting wet on to wet paint.

By putting down a ‘thin’ area you are preparing the area for an opportunity to contrast with fat painted details on top.  The more sedate thin paint adds weight to the “Shout at you “ fat paint.

Generally you should place early details on thinly and progressively get fatter and fatter as you progress, finishing off with bold highlights that look like they were thrown on, but are not.

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble

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Plasticiene Printed Paper

This is a very easy way to make a very effective print block.

As well as being a great way to introduce printmaking, it is also one of the many ways of creating decorated paper. You create a plasticine printing block or stamper that is very durable – I have some that I made years ago and only need a quick dust before using and a wash up before storing away again. If you have not come across plasticine before, it is worth having a play with some. It is a modelling clay that does not dry out – it really does stay pliable, I am sure there are other brands of this sort of modelling clay but plasticine is the one that I have used for years and can confidently recommend .

Start with a lump of plasticine and shape it so it has a knob at one end. Bang it on a table to create a flattened surface.
Use some tools like a nail, blunt knife, a stick, or even a textured surface to create a pattern on the flattened surface.
You may need to gently flatten the surface again.
Apply some paint to the patterned surface and stamp onto some paper.
Wash the plasticine stamper and use again with a different color to create a lovely piece of patterned paper.


I hope you found this idea helpful and have lots of fun creating with paint.
Sarah Bastida
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Also posted on my paper crafts site

Paint application for artists

Artist Paint Application.
By Ron Gribble 

This is one of the most neglected areas in painting courses.

The bottom line is that you, the artists have to decide the application that suits that particular subject.
Artist Paint Application ron gribble

Loosely applied, bold, exposed brush strokes
Fine glazes
Smaller detailed brush strokes
Palette knife
Variations such as ‘spatter’, or ‘scaffitto’, ‘scrumbling’ etc.

I would like to give some overall “things to look out for”!

A bold apparent loose style is a lot more “painterly” and has a lot more character than the alternative detailed.  If you are very talented as a draftsman and your style is developed the fine detail may well be for you.  However most artists tend to over-work a painting when using a smaller brush.  The work becomes boring repetitive and predictable.

Often when completing an important detail I will go back to into that area specifically to make it more bold.  I will over paint an area that is correct, with a larger brush or pallet knife. I would rather “be wrong at the top my voice, than be a whisper”.

So I limit the time that I spend using a fine brush.  If the brush feels slightly too big for the job it is probably the correct one.

Happy Painting
Ron Gribble
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Eye path in painting design

Barriers in the Eye Path in painting design:
By Ron Gribble

I am very aware that I will have a very broad band of artists reading this, so, I will try to be as broad as I can. That is to say, subject matter those artists will be applying this material to from still life, to abstract right through to the more traditional landscapes.

They all have one thing in common. They must some how pick up the viewers interest or catch the eye ‘so to speak’. So having ‘caught the eye’ what are you going to do with it?

It is therefore helpful to develop techniques that guide the eye down the paths that you want them to go. So you can deposit them in the area that is important to you that they see clearly.

School painting design
A road or track maundering through a landscape
As a landscape artist I tend to think in terms of things in the landscape, but for you it could be the subtle folds in a cloth leading towards your prime subjects in a still life.

A road or track maundering through a landscape can tie together all the elements very nicely. A closed gate on a track will cause a lessening of the viewers sub conscious urge to wander down it.

So whatever the - eye path, make it inviting pleasant with out obstacles that cut across the eye path. Remember it should run INTO the subject, not across it.

Happy Painting.
Ron Gribble 
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