We are on the second lesson of Mixing with the Masters, and this week we are doing some beautiful Rembrandt art projects. Rembrandt is my favorite painter. I’ve used his artwork to teach my children Bible stories, since he painted so many biblical scenes:
Charcoal & Gesso Portrait
The first art project is a charcoal and gesso portrait of Rembrandt. This artwork is better for older students, since the shading on the face is crazy. Your kids need to be prepared for the first layer to look unfinished. This is a three-day art project.
Before you start, print out the sketch (template) of Rembrandt that Alisha (the art instructor) provides. I also printed the black and white portrait and the gray scale. I enjoyed Alisha’s teaching about the gray scale, and my children noticed different shades and tried to match the gray scale shades to what they were painting with gesso.
Coloring on the back of the template with a charcoal pencil will enable you to transfer the sketch to the paper without your children having to draw the original. You just use a mechanical pencil without lead to trace the sketch onto the watercolor paper.
Let the first layer of gesso dry, and the next day you can darken or lighten your drawing in different places. Alisha gives instructions on how to do this in the demonstration video for this project.
The gesso portraits came out way better than I thought they would! I was expecting them to look like a Picasso, based on how crazy they looked on the first day when we shaded the faces. It was almost as if someone splatted Rembrandt with a chocolate pie, except in black and white.
The most fun part of this project was painting the gesso on top of the charcoal and having the shades mix while you paint. We had never used gesso before!
Ink Pen Sketching
All you need for this ink pen sketching is a pen and paper. We used Alisha’s template for the shape of the dog so that we could focus on the cross-hatching technique that Rembrandt used on his etchings. The puppies came out cute.
The Mill: Mixed Media
We started this mixed media project with a black canvas. (I prepared the canvas by giving it two coats of black paint before we began the project.) I also bought four different scrapbooking papers that had cool patterns in brown. We used that for the cliff and windmill, using the template that Alisha provides in her class.
Alisha’s mill looked a lot more like the original painting by Rembrandt, with a light tan sky and dark brown earth. She talked about the use of chiaroscuro, which is a technique that uses light and dark for effect. We just reversed the effect by painting a dark sky blue and having the mill be a lighter tan.
If you would like to take this class, go get it here: Mixing with the Masters. We are really enjoying these art projects!