Deep in the Kelp Forest

How do artists create an illusion of depth in their art? Muralists know how. Our fourth graders are creating a mural of the kelp forest habitat. To practice, we picked two items from the kelp forest – giant kelp and garibaldi (the California state marine fish) – and drew each one three times.

We started out by defining the foreground, middle ground and background. Next we talked about:

*placement (objects placed lower on the page appear closer)
*Size (larger objects appear closer)
*Overlap
*Warm and cool colors (warm colors come forward and cool colors recede)
*Value (lighter objects appear further away)

The students then viewed their completed sketches from a distance. They were happy to see the illusion if depth in their sketches.

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Nice work! I think they are ready to paint the mural….

Enjoy!

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