Our beloved America is about to celebrate its birthday, and in that theme I offer to you what I call a “birthday wish” to her in all her glory for Independence Day!
This could be a daytime scene at the reflecting pond for a while. Then I will show you how to darken the sky and landscape for a grand fireworks show!
Now several of the children, along with Hodgepodgedad, just returned from a long weekend in DC. It was a follow up to their civics class this past homeschool year. So, the photo we used was one that they took while there!
You will need the following colors of pastels: pale blue, white, purple, light green, dark green, black, hot pink, orange, yellow. And any other colors of fireworks that you might think would light up our sky. I used a medium blue construction paper.
Begin by turning your paper horizontally. Pick up your purple and visualize the shores of the reflecting pond in front of the monument. Draw a line on the right and left of your page, starting at the bottom, and ALMOST have them meet together about half way up the page. Draw a straight line to connect the shore lines. We will work on the shorelines first, because they will be the “frame” for the pond.
Take your dark green and lightly draw some green bushes along the shore; take your finger and smudge them so you will have not distinct trees or bushes, but an impression of greenery. Add some light green up on top of the dark green and smudge it together lightly. With your light blue, draw a very thin edge of the water on the shoreline. You can have some fun with your colors of the reflecting pond: I used dark purple along the edges to reflect the greenery along the sides. Your light blue can be used very LIGHTLY in the middle of the pond.
Moving on to the monument, at the flat part of the reflecting pond in the middle of the two shorelines, use your black to draw a square box for the monument to sit on. Take your white pastel and construct your monument: Draw a straight line, right up into the sky…make the line wider at the bottom by adding white to the sides of the monument and taper it off at the top, so that you have a point like a triangle at the very top. Then use your black to make a deep shadow on the right side of the monument. Color in some greenery at the bottom of the monument.
Now you are going to work on your reflection of the monument in the water of the pond! During the day, the reflection of the monument would be lighter, almost white in the water. If you want to make this a night-time pastel, the reflection will darken in the water to dark purple.
You might even want to add the Capitol Building in your painting!
If you want to have a daytime view of the Washington Monument, then you can make the sky pale blue and add some fluffy clouds drifting behind the monument. But, if you are up for the Fourth of July celebration, later on in the day, I will tell you how to paint in some darks and make the sky ready for fireworks!
Using your dark purple, lightly “skumble” in some dark sky, then using your fingertips or even your fist, smooth it out until you have a dark sky around your monument. You can even darken the tops of the greenery along the pond edges. You don’t have to have the sky completely purple – just a darkening to show that it is now evening and time for the fireworks!
I have had the wonderful honor of being in Washington on a Fourth of July. I know that you can view the fireworks from many sights around the city. Where I was watching, the fireworks were blasting BEHIND the monument for most of the viewers and that’s what we will do in the painting. With your hot pink pastel, blast some fireworks right behind that white monument! Make the firework lines explode outward for several inches. Then take your orange and on the same firework explosion, add several bright lines. Over to the left, let another firework explode, slightly above the one behind the monument. To balance the show, put a firework exploding to the right, even higher and a little smaller to show it is in the distance.
Middle Girl made a whole paper full of a variety of fireworks you might want to try!
In the reflecting pond, there needs to be a reflection of what is going on in the sky! Paint the same fireworks on the water below, and remember to add the dark shape of the monument in the water also. You may want to add some white lines of tiny waves in the water.
Oh, my! What a glorious birthday present for America, and you are the artist of this beautiful scene! Share this with your family and friends….you are not only a patriot, always remember…you ARE an artist!
You might also like our American Flag (with an option to make it with a night background and fireworks!) and…
Sparklers art tutorials!
You Are An Artist!
- Print this lesson! Click the print friendly tab in the listing of sharing buttons below.
- A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons (100 free lessons now) are all contained in the post Pastels plus links to tutorials plus the video The Very Few Must Have Supplies for Chalk Pastel Art. A simple set is very affordable. Nana also teaches acrylic lessons.
- The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.
- Encouragement: You Can Be an Artist! 10 Day series and Art for All Ages 10 Day series
- Be sure to subscribe to our Hodgepodge YouTube channel for free video art tutorials!
Happy Independence Day!