Anitra Redlefsen
artist, writer & teacher


art is joy store

about anitra

the great dain



teaching & workshops


learning activities & art projects

greenleaf way gallery

special events

pom trip




intro >> teaching & workshops > sample lesson



  • to introduce line as the basis for all drawing and painting
  • encourage right brain creativity, spontaneity, feeling and responding
  • to introduce elements of value and color mixing


  • one or two large sheets of paper (i.e., one 30" x 40" or two 18" x 24" pieces), Vellum Bristol or similar weight paper
  • tempera, acrylic or oil paints (My personal favorite is oils! They are quite "yummy" on the Bristol!)


  1. If you have two pieces of paper (i.e., two 18" x 24" pieces) you will need to tape them together to make one surface; decide which way to tape them (i.e., an overall size of 18" x 48" or 36" x 24") and place the tape on the reverse side of that upon which you will be painting. Masking tape or clear packing tape works well.

  2. Using black paint, and with a fairly continuous movement, draw lines your large surface; in doing so, use the motions of your arms and your body to create energy. You can also do this to music, responding in movement to what you are hearing and feeling. Have fun!

  3. Fill the paper up with the black lines and shapes (created when lines are joined) until the area is filled to your satisfaction.


click to enlarge
  1. 1. Explain elements of line as the basis of all drawing and painting (i.e., angle lines, straight lines, curved lines, vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, etc.). (See Illustration #1 - Elements of Line.)

  2. Discuss the drawing so far; identify the different kinds of lines that have already been created. Are there thick lines and thin lines, what direction do they take, what shapes have they made, do they vary in size and mass?

  3. Ask the student:
    • describe how it felt to make this drawing
    • how do you feel when you look at this drawing?

  4. If you like, photograph the drawing (so that it can be compared to the drawing after color is added in Step #2).
Left: Hannah creating the Black Paint Line Drawing
Right: Finished Line Drawing With Black Paint


click to enlarge
  1. Discuss the concept of value (light and dark).

  2. Explain intermediate color, high key (tint) and low key (shade); demonstrate how to color mix tints (adding white to intermediates) and shades (adding compliments to intermediates). (See Illustration #2 - Violet Color Scale.)

  3. The student chooses a color (i.e. violet) and itís compliment (i.e., yellow). Using the drawing already created, begin to add different values of those colors to the drawing/painting, painting in the shapes that were created with the black lines.


  1. How did the introduction of color change your painting? (Refer to photograph from Step #1 if you took one.)

  2. How does this painting make you feel now?

  3. How does the painting look up close? How does the painting look, as you step back, from a distance?

  4. Give your painting a title and sign your painting (include the date and/or year).

  5. If you like, take a photograph of the painting now after color has been added to compare with the first black line painting photo.

  6. Your piece can be dry mounted onto form core (a reasonable price at your local frame shop) so that you can hang it and enjoy it! (Or matted and framed, a little more cost for that.)
Left: Adding values of violet and yellow to Black Paint Line Drawing
Middle: The finished painting. "Fish", Artist: Hannah, 38" x 24", Oil on vellum bristol paper, 2001
Right: Hannah and her painting!

Copyright © 2001 Anitra Redlefsen Medina, Ohio 44256
Phone and FAX 330-723-6500
All Rights Reserved

© Anitra Redlefsen, 2001-2012 all rights reserved
terms of use