Owl migration? East Omak 5th graders paint owls using oil pastel/watercolor resist technique

Arts Education Spotlight

by Ashley Lodato

Education Director, Methow Arts

A parliament of owls seems to have nested at East Omak Elementary School, in the waning weeks of the school year. This recent art residency with 5th grade students integrated visual art with animal science.

Working with Methow Arts teaching artists Annie Venable, Bruce Morrison, and Bethany Wray students first examined the shapes of different owls, looking at bodies, heads, beaks, wings, and feet. They then sketched their owls, first with pencil, then outlining the entire sketch with a white oil pastel crayon, adding a few wispy highlights to the wings and body to indicate feathers.

After sketching the owl’s eyes and beak, they outlined these parts with a black oil pastel crayon. When watercolor paint was applied, the parts outlined with the oil pastels would “resist” the paint, providing a unique and vibrant visual appeal to each painting.

Once the painting began, some students adhered strictly to realistic colors for their owls, while others got creative with color choices. Although most students juxtaposed their owls against a night sky–they ARE nocturnal animals, after all–some painted theirs against backdrops like a red barn, or the window of a house.

Through an administrative mistake (whoops! my fault! sorry!) two of the six classrooms involved were issued paint sets with no brown or black in them. Undaunted, the students equipped with only the three primary (red, yellow, blue) and three secondary (orange, green, purple) colors forged ahead, resulting imaginative and vivid owl paintings nonetheless–creativity and resourcefulness at their finest!

This art residency was brought to students by Methow Arts’ Okanogan Region Arts Education Partnership.  The partnership serves more than 5,200 students and 370 teachers across Okanogan County with arts programs in classrooms in the Omak, Okanogan, Brewster, Pateros, and Methow School Districts, and in the Paschal Sherman Indian School. Project sponsors include the the Community Foundation of North Central Washington, the Omak School District, Confluence HealthOkanogan-Omak RotaryOmak Kiwanis, and ArtsWA. THANK YOU!

CONTACT: info@methowartsalliance.org or 509.997.4004