Sunday, May 30, 2010

Monet's Japanese Bridge

4th graders looked at Claude Monet's series of Japanese Bridge paintings. They used oil pastels to draw their bridge and waterlilies before painting the water and sky making sure to blend colors.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Henri Matisse Inspired Goldfish Collage

Students look at Henri Matisse's painting "Goldfish". Students create their own version using a collage process. Begin by designing a patterned background. Cut and glue an oval table top and some table legs beneath it towards the bottom of the paper. Cut out cylinder shape from blue textured paper and glue on table. Add flowers and leaves in the background. Use orange paper to create some goldfish to put in the cylinder. Remind students of proper ways to use glue- demonstrate how to apply glue to paper in small amounts. Use oil pastels to add more details.

Robert Indiana Inspired Word Drawing

We looked at Robert Indiana's Love painting. We discussed font and how the way a word is written can demonstrate its meaning. Students folded a square piece of paper into 4 boxes and chose an appropriate four letter word- one letter in each box. Student's had a variety of fonts to look at for inspiration to design their words.

Paul Klee Inspired Scratch Art

We started by looking at artist Paul Klee's Golden Fish. We talked about what the focal point of his painting was and how we knew that (in the center, bigger, brighter). We also looked at the details and textures in his painting. Students made their own scratch paper by coloring with oil pastels in diagonal lines. They then used the width of a ruler to measure a border and colored the inner rectangle with black oil pastel. They were then able to use a toothpick to scratch away at their paper to reveal the colors underneath. We used an ocean theme and had to include an obvious focal point.


I think this might be my new favorite project. I did it with 4th graders but you could really do it with any grade. Students start by painting different sized squares and rectangles to represent buildings. Start your buildings about 1/4 from the bottom of your paper (leave space for a sidewalk or road to add more city details). After a row of brighlty colored shapes is complete use a dark blue to create a skyline silhouette behind them. Use a lighter blue to pain the sky. Once paint is dry students us sharpie to add details to buildings. We discussed different types of building facades, materials, roofs, doors, windows and what might be happening on the street.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Self Portrait Playing Card

Look at different examples of face playing cards. Students choose a suite and must use red, black and a color of their choice to add details. We discussed creating self portraits in frontal view, profile and 3/4 view. Students looked at different fonts to design their K or Q.

Warm/Cool Sunsets

Students review warm and cool colors. Demonstrate how to draw a sunset- start with a wavy horizon line, draw a half circle above it with radiating diagonal lines. Students paint sunset using warm colors for the sky and cool colors for the water. Students practice blending colors and gradation. Students can use black sharpie to add silhouetted details (birds, marine life, boats...).

Warm/Cool Sun and Moons

Students review warm (reds, yellows, oranges) and cool (blues, greens, purples) colors. The sun represents warm colors and the moon represents cool colors. Draw a circle with a crescent shape inside. The moon's face is drawn in profile while the sun's face is drawn as a frontal view. Color with chalk pastels practicing blending colors to create shading.

Animal Print SIlhouettes

Students choose an animal with a distinct print (cow, tiger, zebra...). They use colored pencils to create a background of the animal print on drawing paper. Students then examine a photo of their animal and practice drawing a contour line or silhouette version of that animal. They cut out the animal and glue it onto the patterned background.

O'Keefe Inspired Flowers

Fourth graders were introduced to Georgia O'Keefe's enlarged flower paintings. They selected their own flower to study. Students were encouraged to draw BIG using a photo as their reference. Details were added with oil pastel before flowers were painted with watercolors.

Picasso Inspired Portraits

Students look at and discuss Picasso's abstract portraits where multiple views are shown simultaneously. Demonstrate a frontal portrait and profile view. Incorporate Picasso's use of color and line.


This is a project that I have only done using model magic but you can also use clay. Students design a trophy for someone important to them for something that they do well.

Squiggle Animals

This is a great go to lesson for any grade. It involves minimal materials and can go in a number of directions. Squiggle Animals are inspired by artist Alex Beard. I start by drawing a random squiggle line on my student's paper with a thick black marker. The student is then to turn their paper in all different directiosn to see what kind of animal the squiggle can inspire. They draw details and create a background. I try to discourage students from making snakes- too obvious.


Welcome to Art Explorium! I am an elementary art teacher and want to share some of my favorite lessons and art works with other educators and artists. I have found so much inspiration and ideas from other artist's blogs, hopefully someone will find some from mine.