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The White Fox / After Reading / /

The Art of The White Fox

Using watercolours to paint a white fox.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from The White Fox series

Text potential

  • Wider learning opportunities: Art: materials and skills

Purpose

Jackie Morris uses watercolours to create evocative images of the fox. Painting a white animal is a challenge, and in this lesson, the children look closely at the illustrations and use colour to paint a white fox. 

Preparation

  • Bookmark the video of Jackie Morris painting a barn owl (see below)
  • Watercolour paints.
  • 2H pencils for drawing.

Process

Ask:

  • What colour is the fox in the story?
  • What colours were used to create the illustrations of the fox?

Invite the children to look closely at the front cover of The White Fox to answer the question. 

  • How many different colours can you see? (write a list)
  • Why do you think Jackie Morris uses all these colours to paint a white fox?

Look at a photograph of an Arctic fox. They turn white in the winter to blend in with the snow but are not entirely white.

Distribute watercolour paper. Give time for the children to sketch the outline of the white fox lightly. They can choose the illustration from the front cover or any from inside the book. The key is to press very lightly with a pencil to get a sense of the outline of the animal. 

Watch the video of Jackie Morris at work painting a barn owl for an insight into her technique. 

As the children watch, ask them to note down the way Jackie Morris uses her brush to build up the picture. 

Demonstrate using different techniques that the children can use to paint their fox. This allows introducing academic vocabulary associated with watercolour painting.  

  • Use very light brush strokes to build up the fox. 
  • White can be added to different colours to create tones
  • Bleed colours into each other by adding water to your brush and adding it to the paper. Next, while it is still wet, add more colour and water. The colours can be manipulated to where you want them to be.  
  • Layer colours by painting one colour then, once dry, adding another wash of colour
  • Save dark colours until the end

Ensure that the children have access to additional paper to try out techniques. 

Final reflection

Completed paintings should be set out anonymously before inviting pairs to walk around and look at the way the techniques have been used. After spending time looking, each pair should write a comment on a sticky note on two paintings. 

Teacher’s note: a variation to this lesson would be to allow the children to paint a choice of ‘white’ animals: polar bear, snowshoe hair, snowy owl, ermine.

 

Key vocabulary

light, dark, mixing, wash, bleed, tone

Resources

Video of Jackie Morris Painiting a Barn Owl

This video was made for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Visit resource

Contributors

Sam Keeley

Formerly a teacher and local authority advisory teacher, Sam now works with Just Imagine as an English consultant and manager of the year 6 Reading Gladiators programme.

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