Lesson Objectives: Students will learn about color while using an ink wash technique. 

Time Required: Day 1: 60-90 minutes for drawing and painting.  Day 2: 45-60 minutes to wash with ink and rinse off (or this can be done by parents outside of class for a 1 day project.) 

Artist:  Any artist who uses bold, saturated colors and simple themes, such as Georgia O’Keefe, Van Gogh, Rousseau, etc. 

Print:  Georgia O’Keefe’s flower paintings, Van Gogh’s sunflowers or iris paintings, Rousseau’s jungle paintings, etc.


Acrylic paint


Thick white paper for painting (multi-media paper or other thick smooth paper)

India ink 


Choose an artist and a theme: this lesson could be used with many different artists and themes such as flowers, animals, leaves, or birds.  Examples should be bold paintings: brightly colored flowers, animals or jungle scenes that are simple but saturated with color.  Discuss warm and cool colors, contrast, emphasis, balance, and value.           

Procedure, Session 1:

            1.         Lightly sketch in the drawing with pencil on heavy white paper.       

            2.         Paint design with acrylic paints. The paint should be applied fairly heavily, and don’t leave too much white or the paper will fall apart in the sink when you are washing off the ink.  Bold color applied thickly and evenly will help the paper stay together and will show through the ink better. 

             3.         Students will paint inside their pencil lines, leaving a white border between subjects. This white border will become black once the ink is applied, creating a stained-glass look. Allow paintings to dry completely, at least a couple of hours. 

Procedure, Session 2:

            1.         (This step can be done separately from the students.) 

Use a large flat brush to apply India ink over the entire painting. Allow the ink to dry about 5-10 minutes or until the ink is mainly small puddles across the page- not completely dry, just mostly dry. In the sink under a slow-running faucet, lightly rinse the ink off the painting but not completely removing the ink.  Lay wet paintings on butcher paper to dry.  You can use a paper towel to lightly blot up excess water if puddling occurs.  Don’t drip dry or the ink will run in streaks.