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


Art Techniques
Language Arts
Visual Arts


blow colour dilute forsythia line shape spatter spring


Paint Brushes Water Containers Drinking Straw Toothbrush Paper Towels Water Watercolour Paints Crayola Marker and Watercolour Paper

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

Step One

Mix some brown paint with water to make a watery solution. Use a paintbrush or eyedropper to drop a small amount of paint onto the bottom of your paper. This will become a branch. Place a straw close to the paint. Blow the paint away from you and towards the top of the paper.  

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

Step Two

Continue dropping paint and blowing it both upwards and sideways to create several stems and branches. Set your work aside to dry.

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

Step Three

Mix together 2 or 3 shades of yellow and water them down in the same way you watered down the brown paint. The yellow shades you have mixed will become the Forsythia flowers. Water down a small amount of green paint as well.

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

Step Four

To make the flowers you will need a small, round paintbrush. A Forsythia flower has four yellow petals. Use your paintbrush to make four petals in the shape of an X.

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

Step Five

Continue making many petals all around your branches. Use all three colours. While the yellow flowers are still wet, drop in some small amounts of green. This will look like the little leaves that the flower grows out of and will help to make your picture look realistic. Set your painting aside to dry.

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

Step Six

Make two watery solutions, one of green paint and one of yellow paint. Dip an old toothbrush into the yellow paint and use your thumb to flick or spatter paint all over your picture. Repeat this step with the green paint.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a watercolour painting using three different painting techniques;
  2. Create realistic branches by blowing paint through a straw in a controlled manner;
  3. Paint realistic looking forsythia flowers using a small round paint brush;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.



  1. Have students identify some of the other signs of spring. Set up a centre for students to 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.
  2. Create a class mural of a spring landscape incorporating this technique and adding collage elements such as flowers, birds, houses, children, etc.


  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 with students. As part of the discussion, also talk about 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, It's Springby 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, for example, brown branches, many bright, yellow flowers with four petals, small green leaves.
  2. Use blowing, spattering and painting to create realistic looking forsythia branches.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  4. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Explain to students that they will be using a new technique of blowing paint through a straw in a controlled manner to create the appearance of forsythia branches.
  2. Allow several practice opportunities so that students can control the direction and amount of paint.
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan. 
  4. 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".
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Display the completed paintings for a group discussion.
  2. Ask students to discuss the elements of art they think are most important in this challenge and why (colour, line, shape and space).
  3. Discuss, some of the artistic challenges students encountered as they used some new painting techniques.


  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - SPRING_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - SPRING_self-assessment.pdf)