THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape

Students use a variety of painting techniques to create a watercolour painting of forsythia branches. 

Required Time

45 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


blow colour dilute forsythia line shape spatter spring


Crayola Watercolour Paints - 8 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count Pipettes - 1 per student Drinking Straws - 1 per student Water Containers Paper Towels

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THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape - Step One

Step One

  1. Mix some brown paint with water to make a watery solution. 
  2. Use a paintbrush or pipette to drop a small amount of paint onto the bottom of your paper.
  3. This will become a branch.
THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Place a straw close to the paint.
  2. Blow the paint away from you and towards the top of the paper.  
  3. Continue dropping paint and blowing it both upwards and sideways to create several stems and branches. 
  4. Set your work aside to dry.
THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Mix together 2 or 3 shades of yellow.
  2. Water them down in the same way you watered down the brown paint.
  3. The yellow shades you have mixed will become the forsythia flowers.
  4. Water down a small amount of green paint as well.
THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use a small, round paintbrush to make the flowers. 
  2. Use your paintbrush to make four yellow petals in the shape of an X
  3. Continue making many petals all around your branches.
  4. Use all three colours of yellow. 
  5. While the yellow flowers are still wet, drop in some small amounts of green.
  6. This will look like the little leaves that the flower grows out of.
  7.  Set your painting aside to dry.
THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Make a watery solution of green paint.
  2. Load your paintbrush with the watery paint.
  3. Hold the brush in one hand.
  4. Tap the brush handle with the edge of your other hand to spatter paint all over your picture. 
THE WARM WINDS OF SPRING – Line, Colour, Shape - Step Six

Step Six

  1. View your painting with fresh eyes.
    - How does it make you feel?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What do you like best baout your painting? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a watercolour painting using three different painting techniques;
  • create branches by blowing paint through a straw in a controlled manner;
  • paint forsythia flowers using a small round paint brush;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • identify some of the other signs of spring;
  • explore how to create the branches of other early flowering bushes and trees such as apples and cherries using the techniques learned in this lesson.
  • work with their peers to create a class mural of a spring landscape incorporating watercolour techniques and adding collage elements such as flowers, birds, houses, and children;
  • write and add speech bubbles to the mural;
  • write short stories inspired by the mural;
  • present their stories in front of the mural.


  1. Prepare an exemplar.
  2. Download pictures of forsythia from the Internet, for example, 
    Forsythia Bush
    Forsythia Flower
  3. Gather real or silk forsythia branches.
  4. Discuss some of the signs of spring focussing on the earliest flowers and bushes to bloom in the spring.
  5. Read and make available both fiction and non-fiction books about spring, for example, Spring is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray; 12 Days of Spring, by E.W. Turner; Mouse's First Spring, by Lauren Thompson; Everything Spring, by Jill Esbaum; and It's Spring, by Susan Swan.
  6. Allow students to practice blowing paint through a straw so that they can gain control over the process.


  1. Seat students in a way that allows them to view real or silk forsythia branches for reference.
  2. Have students examine several real and/or silk forsythia branches, or pictures of forsythia.
  3. Have them describe the characteristics they notice such as colours, number of petals, size and shape of branches, and list them on a chart paper.
  4. Provide students with the materials they will need. Everything but the straws can be shared in groups of 2 or 3.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Identify the features of the forsythia bush.
  2. Use blowing, spattering and painting to create a picture of forsythia branches.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  4. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - blown paint to make a picture of branches
    - painted flowers with 4 small petals
    - mixed several shades of yellow
    - used watery paint for special effects
    - used spatter technique 

    - kept everything in good condition
  3. Explain to students that they will be blowing paint through a straw in a controlled manner to create the appearance of forsythia branches.
  4. Allow several practice opportunities so that students can control the direction and amount of paint.
  5. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan. 
  6. Observe students as they work, encouraging them to refer to the examples and stand back from their work periodically in order to see it with "fresh eyes".
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Display the completed paintings for a group discussion.
  2. During the discussion focus on the use of line, shape colour and space.
    - What do you notice about the way the lines look?
    - Was blowing the paint to make branches a good idea or not? Why?
    - How does the picture make you feel?
    - What do you see that makes you say that? 
    - What do you like best about the picture? Why?
  3. Discuss, some of the artistic challenges students encountered as they used some new painting techniques, and how they solved them.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas on the picture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - WindsOfSpring_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - WindsOfSpring_self-assessment.pdf)