Sunset Art

In the process of compiling my list of 40 Things I've always wanted to do, I spent a lot of time digging through my files. Along the way, I rediscovered some of my favorite art projects from my teaching days. One of my absolute favorites is Sunset Art.  

Trevor was very excited to try Sunset Art. Here's what he made:

And here is the one I made:

Materials needed: Watercolor paper, watercolor paints, paintbrush, brown and black construction paper, scissors, and glue. It also helps to have photos of sunsets.

Begin by looking at pictures of sunsets. Observe that sunsets can have a wide variety of colors and that the warmest colors (yellow, orange, red) are near the horizon. Notice that the colors flow into each other and that the bands of color are horizontal, not vertical.

Use watercolors to paint yellows, oranges, reds, blues and purples onto the watercolor paper.

While the paint is drying, cut out the silhouette of an animal from black construction paper. Older children can do this on their own, while younger children might need a tracer. Trevor used a tracer of a zebra and then carefully cut it out.

Next, cut a thin strip of black paper. Cut a strip of brown paper that is slightly wider than the black paper. Layer the black paper on top of the brown to create a sense of distance. Finally, glue these papers to the dry background paper, then glue the animal in the foreground.

Here are two more examples of Sunset Art, made many years ago by 5th grade students who were gracious enough to let me keep their work as examples for future classes. I wish I'd taken pictures of some of the other students' work, as their artwork was as unique as they were. Aren't these stunning?

by Vincent

by Alex

I'd love to do this as an annual art project for Trevor and me, just like it used to be an annual project I taught to my students. It will be really fun seeing Trevor's skills progress over the years.


  1. I am always amazed at the cool things you come up with! Awesome job! :)

  2. You have the coolest ideas!! I just loveeeeeeeeeeee these!! WOW!!

  3. I've never heard of Sunset Art! tfs :) and Love what Trevor and you created!

  4. Wow! These are amazing! Great idea! :)

  5. Absolutely awesome! I love the color blending. I think you both did a great job. Trevor's going to grow up to be a great Dad because he'll be able to keep his kids busy crafting. LOL


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