Watercolor Technique Landscapes: Watercolor for Beginners Lesson for Middle and High School Art

These watercolor landscapes for kids are a great way for students to learn about watercolor techniques in a fun, exciting lesson that is easy for beginning artists to create a successful painting.

This same technique can be applied to more than just landscapes. I’m excited to try it as animals, or floral paintings as well!

Here are the basics:
  • Medium -Watercolor
  • Project Length – 2-3 weeks
  • Grade – 5-12
  • Objective – Explore color theory, composition, atmospheric perspective and unity.
  • Materials – Watercolor Paint, Watercolor Brushes, Water, Watercolor paper, palettes, Sharpie Markers, copy paper, Plastic cups with lids, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, masking fluid or tape, salt, sponges, sand paper, watercolor pencils (optional), eye droppers and anything else that you may think to use. Some of my students used burlap and plastic wrap.
  • Technique: We start by creating a technique grid of about 24 different watercolor techniques. I then have students look up reference for their landscape, trace the basic shapes and then start to scale thumbnails. I explain the rule of thirds with examples in my powerpoint and show examples of student work. I have students start thumbnails by finding the upper third of the thumbnail and begin with the horizon, adding shapes as they move down the drawing. Shapes get larger as them come into the foreground. They then start to explore the techniques that they will use on their final paintings as well as come up with a color plan. We talk about complementary colors and warm/cool colors. Next they draw their final landscapes in Sharpie onto stretched watercolor paper. They then start filling in shapes using the techniques that they mastered.
Here is a shortened version of the process:
Here are some student samples.
Final Painting:
Final painting in process:
Final Painting



















Color Plan (Small Scale)

Final Painting

Technique Practice:

Final Paintings:

For more inspiration google ‘stained glass landscapes’ or take a look at Ted Edinger’s, Robin Mead’s and Caitlin Lovato’s painted artwork at the following links:

My students really enjoyed this project and they have a beautiful stained glass quality when they are done. They are so bright and colorful and make a beautiful spring display by our library! Have fun with this one!

Click the image below to find the full resource!

Have fun creating with your students!