Leaf Classification and Color Resist Leaf Art

Leaf Class.jpg

Botany studies are such a fun part of the Montessori elementary curriculum!

I've been going through the Montessori leaf classification lessons lately. I'm also delving into some fine arts work focusing on the elements of design. My students will start out by examining different artists' use of lines in their artwork.

And because, Cosmic Education is interdisciplinary, I figured: why not combine art & scientific classification? Thus, I am planning a color resist leaf classification drawing, emphasizing the use of lines to show the venation of the leaves. 

What?! Why does that sound so complicated? It's a super simple activity, really. You have likely done color resist art before. It's when you draw with crayons, and then go over your drawing with watercolor. The crayon wax and the watercolor resist–meaning, they don't mix. 

Instead of regular crayons, we'll be using my Prismacolor Premier colored pencils to draw the outline of the leaves & the veins, then we will fill in the lamina of the leaves with the watercolor pastels. 

My students LOVE to use my special Caran d'Ache watercolor pastels. They aren't cheap (and they are my personal set), so I only bring them out occasionally. Judging by the kids reactions, you'd think they were magic! But if I'm honest, I love them just as much as they do. And for good reason. They are easy to use, and they yield beautiful results. I mean, you really can't go wrong.

You just color with them, as you would with any crayon. Then go back over the color with a wet paintbrush, and watch them turn into watercolor.

And when they have finished their leafy works of art, we'll discuss how they used various kinds of lines to draw the veins in each of the leaves–thick lines, thin lines, curved lines, smudged lines, and so on.

Gradually the time comes when the plant world no longer gives to the child a mere impression of greenery, sprinkled with the brilliancy of other colors, but as he walks around, wherever his eyes rest on a plant, on a leaf, on a flower, he recognizes a friend: ‘Yes, I know you, and all the details about you.’
— Mario Montessori, The Botanical Cards. NAMTA journal vol. 23 no. 2