NORTHERN LIGHTS – Colour, Contrast, Space

Students use oil pastels, black tempera paint and glitter glue to create a mixed media landscape featuring the Northern Lights.

Share this:
NORTHERN LIGHTS – Colour, Contrast, Space


  • Crayola Washable Tempera Paint - Black
  • Crayola Oil Pastels - 16 count
  • Crayola Paint Brushes
  • Crayola Glitter Glue
  • Crayola Construction Paper - Black - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Pad - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm )9" x 12")
  • Sponges
  • Paper Towels
  • Pencils


Step 1
  1. Start with 2 main colours you might see in the Northern Lights, for example, green and blue.
  2. Fill your black construction paper with the colours.
  3. Overlap colours where they meet.
Step 2
  1. Choose more colours that you might see in the Northern Lights, for example, yellow, violet and orange.
  2. Add colours and blend them with a sponge.
  3. As you add a colour change direction with your strokes to give the feeling of movement.
Step 3
  1. Make several thumbnail sketches of possible landscapes.
    - let the land fill about ⅓ of the page
    - place trees on the land in a way that moves your eye from one to the next through the whole space
    - balance the positive and negative spaces
Step 4
  1. Choose the idea you like the best, or combine several ideas into a new one.
  2. Use black tempera paint to paint your landscape over the oil pastel.
  3. Make sure you apply enough paint to make a solid silhouette.

Step 5
  1. Spread some glitter glue onto a plastic lid.
  2. Use a paint brush to apply a thin layer of glitter glue to add some sparkle to your sky.

Step 6
  1. When you are satisfied with your work place the picture at a short distance.
  2. View it with fresh eyes.
    - How does contrast affect the picture?
    - How do your eyes move through the picture plane?
    - How does the picture make you feel?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What do you like best about this picture? Why?

  • Subjects:

    • Language Arts,

    • Science,

    • Social Studies,

    • Visual Arts

  • Grades:

    • Grade 1,

    • Grade 2,

    • Grade 3

Related Lesson Plans

Illustrated Crayon Character