Blazing Banyan Tree

  3rd and 4th grade have been working on one of my all time favorite projects this week! (Yes, by now you may have guessed that every project we do is my favorite!) Using black tempera paint and vibrant oil pastels they created a stunning banyan tree silhouetted against a sunset background and reflected in water. This project also introduced the concept of negative space. The interesting pockets of space that are created within the branches and trunks of this drawing are the ‘negative space’ (or space around the object.) Compositions are improved when artists give careful attention to the space around objects and how they relate to the subject in the painting rather than leaving the space empty.’ Dynamic Art Projects for  Children: Includes Step-by-step Instructions And Photographs Denise M. Logan Students were guided through the drawing of the banyan tree and then painted the trunk and branches with black tempera paint. Adding color with oil pastels involved care and patience. Students were encouraged to blend their oil pastels after applying on paper in order to create a smooth transition between colors. The final touch was to create the appearance of reflections in the water by using a black oil pastel to add irregular zig zag lines where the tree trunks met the water. Great job 3rd and 4th grade 🙂 If you and your child wish to learn more about the banyan tree and the Indian culture, please click on the following link to see a wonderful, nine minute video presented by two school aged sisters.

Banyan Tree

Students adding color to their compositions with oil pastels.

Working on banyan tree compositions

Working on banyan tree compositions

Working on banyan tree compositions

Working on banyan tree compositions

Ryan T.

Nicolette M.

Terrie B.

Parker A.

Jasmine S.

Sophie S.

Cameron W.

Edie P.

Skye P.

Hannah C.

Benjamin L.

Hannah T.

Isabella O.




About stephwheatley

Formerly from Britain, I have lived in the USA since 1989. My qualifications are in library science, but I've had a passion for all things artsy and crafty for as long as I can remember! I became the Primary Art Teacher at Shady Oak Christian School in 2009 and am thoroughly enjoying myself. I teach students at both Shady Oak Christian School and Shady Oak Primary School. It's wonderful to be able to share my passion at a place that believes in the importance of learning through creativity. Please check out the Shady Oak websites at and to learn more about these unique schools located in Richmond, TX.
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6 Responses to Blazing Banyan Tree

  1. Cathy Wesley says:

    Love it! Even in your old age, u still got it!

  2. Nancy Wenzel says:

    Stephanie, you do such a great job of keeping up with your blog! I’m impressed with the projects the kids do, and your ability to share it with everyone in a timely matter! Well Done!!

  3. Awww…. Thanks so much Nancy! 🙂

  4. Judith Brocklehurst says:

    Always so crafty and creative Stephanie! Love your blog …. I can always come and visit when I get homesick for Shady Oak. Renwick and Mirella have started doing Art again and it takes me back to their beginning at Shady Oak. Love your page. thanks xxx

    • Judith! How wonderful to hear from you 🙂 ShadyOak is hosting its Spring Thing this Saturday. It would be wonderful to see you all. 9am-1pm. Arts and crafts for sale, an art project for all to contribute their talents and alumni photographs, Hope you can make it. oxoxox

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