Welcome to Lines, Dots, and Doodles. This is the place for students, parents, and teachers to find out what has been going on in my art class. I have included pictures of my student's artwork and basic explanations of the projects. I hope when you leave this blog, you feel inspired to create. Feel free to browse this blog and borrow any of my art lessons.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chinese Gold Fish, 5th grade

I did this project several months ago, but I forgot to post on it. I did this lesson with my fifth graders because I wanted them to learn to loosen up when they paint. Often, I find that they are so worried about making a mistake, that they don't know how to paint freely and loosely. For this lesson, we focused on Chinese Gold Fish Paintings. If you search in google images, you can find lots of examples of these. Chinese goldfish paintings tend to be very loose, and the artist does not usually sketch the fish out ahead of time.
For this lesson, my students could NOT draw with pencil. Everything had to be sketched with paint. We used liquid watercolors, but you could also use India Ink or regular watercolors. My students painted the fish first, and the seaweed second. All mistakes had to be fixed with paint. An accidental drip of paint could become a bubble, or even extended into seaweed. I told my students that, "Our goal is to make our mistakes look like they were done on purpose." I really like the loose free brush strokes in these paintings.


  1. Hi Holly, I'm so glad I found your idea. I'm about to embark on a China unit with my year 5 and 6 students. I have never done China before. Although I'm excited I'm also overwhelmed. This always happens before the beginning of a new term. If you don't mind I will use this idea it looks great. Anna :)

  2. Anna, Sure you can use this lesson. Good luck with your China unit.

  3. We just got class pet goldfish... might try a paired down version next week! Merci!

  4. I like your idea about mistakes.This helps them to be more free, risk taker during their work.and to understand sense of creativity.