Painting is one of the pins that is in the Contenders book, however, there is a lot of leeway in how to earn the pin.

I did this watercolor project when I was young and the finished product was so striking that I remember being very pleased with myself at the effect although I had no painting skills. The boys will put masking tape down on the paper in their impression of a tree, with a trunk and branches. The masking tape 'masks' the paper, so when the boys paint, those parts of the paper remain unpainted. Then, when it is dry, they gently peel the tape off and the tree remains.

I made a couple of examples for the boys to look at before our meeting. Of course, many of the little boys mix up all their colors and may end up with a primarily grey painting- which lends a 'forest at night' look to their artwork, but if they use blues, they will get a winter forest. If they use reds and oranges they will get a sunset look. If they use browns and greens, a springtime forest look.

This project could start out with an intro to the brushes and the boys could wet each brush and see the kind of mark it leaves, and practice with how much water to use and how to get brighter colors. 5-packs of decent-quality brushes are available at craft stores pretty inexpensively, and they have one of each different tips.

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