Lately I’ve painted with my grandchildren via Facetime, and it has been a learning experience for both them and me. What I have learned so far:   #1 find something they want to paint, and #2 keep the composition simple.

One of our more successful watercolors was a deer in the snow. To start, I emailed jpegs of several paintings to my family, the kids chose one and then printed out copies. Then they traced the shapes onto watercolor paper. In the case of the deer, the background was much more complicated, so I told the kids to just draw a simple horizon line behind the deer and we would paint above the line around the deer shape and keep the foreground white like snow.

The lesson for the day was about counter-change in art, ie light against dark, and dark against light.  When we were all ready on Facetime , we started with the background, charging in thick dark burnt sienna and ultramarine blue paint around the deer, making the right side around the head darker than the left. Next we started on the deer itself, leaving some white against the dark background, and dropping in lighter burnt sienna, raw sienna, and some sepia for the hooves. We softened the edges where the deer feet went into the snow, and finished off by painting the eye.

Overall it worked pretty well in times of sheltering at home.