Leading up to this activity, I had spent a couple of sessions getting students to do obsevational drawings, learning to look is an important factor when doing still life study and doing something like this is a good warm up exercise. Each child had a view-finder and a magazine page; they could select an area of the magazine to copy.
We set about making the mould for the plaster canvas and once completed we mixed the plaster and poured it into the mould.
After a week to dry out thoroughly, the mould was removed to reveal the plaster canvas.
I set up a screen on each table so each student could set up a still life composition (we used fruit). It’s a good idea to discuss complementary colours and making your still life visually pleasing.
Once the friuts were in place, students had the chance to practice their observational skills using watercolour paints. We discussed highlights, midtones and shadows, looking at all the different colours and tones we could see.
When students were ready they began to illustrate their fruit still life on the plaster canvas with water soluble wax crayons.
Adding water to a cue tip and gently rubbing it on the wax pastels will encourage the blending of colours.
This activity was a total success, the paintings were superb and the students really enjoyed the opportunity to draw on an unusual surface.