Impressions and reflections

Levels 3-6

Pick up your brushes, prepare a palette of warm or cool colours and produce your own painterly impression of a scene reflected in water.

Learning objectives

  • Define warm and cool colours
  • Identify and describe environmental conditions in paintings by French Impressionists
  • Analyse artworks to determine how warm and/or cool colours can be used to suggest temperature
  • Paint a landscape reflected in water using either a warm or cool colour palette

Workshop instructions

Resources & materials

  • Heavy, durable paper or cardboard
  • A graphite pencil
  • Acrylic paints
  • Brushes
  • A paint pallet
  • A water pot
  • Pictures from nature to inspire you


  1. Fold your piece of paper in half. The folded line in the middle will be the line that separates land from water.
  2. Sketch the landscape above the fold line. You could include trees, hills or mountains, but don’t add too much detail as it will become tricky to paint. You can take inspiration from any landscape image you like or imagine a scene of your own.
  3. Pick the colours for your painting. Think about the season and temperature you want to show. This will help you decide whether you’ll use warm or cool colours from the colour wheel.
  4. Paint in the water at the bottom of your page and let it dry.
  5. Paint in the first couple of features of your landscape. Start with something towards the front, like trees.
  6. Gently fold your paper in half, pressing the top into the bottom over the pot you just painted. Unfold the paper carefully to reveal your first reflection.
  7. Repeat this process of painting and folding for each feature or two of the landscape until everything has been reflected in the water.
  8. Finish your artwork by painting in the sky.