Every other Friday, we have a watercolor painting lesson. Well, we used to paint every week, but we started a nature program every other Friday, so now we paint on our off-Friday.
However, this year I decided that my sixth grade daughter would work with charcoal during the usual painting time. My fourth grade son is still painting on Fridays, so my daughter likes to paint along with him (it is so hard for her to resist), and the lessons can go on very late as a result!
Tomas Wildgruber writes about the sixth grader in Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools: Classes 1 – 8 (fabulous book, by the way):
To put aside watercolour paintings for a while, with their more naïve pictorial experience, and to work instead with nuances of light and shade between black and white, is a way of coming to meet pupils’ violently fluctuating soul life at this age.
The exercises in the book begin with “plane exercises”, then move to “illuminated objects”. We have yet to begin the illuminated objects, so it will have to wait until early seventh grade. Below are our plane exercises:
A “free” composition:
For the cover of her book, she used a black crayon and pencil, so that it wouldn’t smudge:
And here are my pictures (the ones I could find, anyway):
Charcoals are quite inexpensive, which is a welcome relief. We bought a few different kinds and we are still experimenting to find what we like best. Most of the drawings above were done with compressed charcoal, then we discovered willow and vine charcoal. It is easier to get soft grays with the willow and vine than the compressed charcoal.
I suggest the following supplies:
That is a long list, but you really just need the paper and the charcoal to get started. You can do all of the lessons with just those two supplies. The other supplies are nice to have, maybe as the projects get more involved, but not necessary.