Winter class ideas began brewing last Summer but I didn't want to do a winter theme. Themes and I don't get along. I was the only elementary teacher who didn't decorate her class in apples, gingham western or other verious "cutesy" crap.
I decided on studying old and new works of art and came up with Mimicking the Masters class. Parents that signed their kid/kids up early received stocking stuffer which was a paintbrush and a poem I wrote.
My morning crew studied pretwentieth century art and went back 500+ years with illuminated lettering. Back before the printing press books were hand written and it became popular to have the first letter of a chapter decorated with patterns, scenery, animals or other fanciful things. After looking at real life examples in some books I had and borrowed from my mom (my favorite of which being one from her old family Bible) the girls practiced drawing different styles of letters then chose and designed their initial.
We transferred their sketch to canvas with transfer paper. Then painted masking fluid around our letter to create a temporary barrier for when we would later watercolor.
Used oil pastels to decorate their initial.
And water colored! The oil pastels resist the water color paint and show up really boldly.
After drying they pealed the masking fluid off.