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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Idea File



Idea File:

Texture Trove

Students learn how an Impressionist painter used texture in her work, then imitate the painter’s technique, using different materials and tools, to create texture in their own artworks.

Teaching Concepts:

  • Students research how different textures were created in impressionistic paintings.
  • Students gain a better understanding of how to use a variety of materials and tools.

Academic Content

  • Visual Art: elements of art (shape, form, texture), media (two-dimensional: paint)

Lesson Idea

Resource: L’enfant (The Child) by Mary Cassatt, from the Speed Art Museum collection on the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM

Discuss: Have a class discussion about Mary Cassatt’s painting L’enfant. Give the students a brief history of the impressionistic style. Talk about how Cassatt’s painting style introduced a new way of looking at children. (She painted children in a realistic and lifelike manner.) Draw the students’ attention to the texture of the painting. Does the painting look smooth or rough? How do you think the artist made this texture in the painting?

Create: Use tempera or acrylic paint on various surfaces such as canvas, paper, fabric, cardboard, etc. with various tools such as dry brushes, paint thickeners, fingers, cotton swabs, and sponges. Try to simulate the texture represented in L’enfant.

Explore: Find other works of art in the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum that have strong texture. Based on your experience trying to simulate the texture in L’enfant, how do you think the other artists created the textures in their artworks?

Expand: Is texture seen only in impressionist paintings? Research other periods in painting and find examples where texture is used.

Author: Adapted from a lesson by Gwen Kelly


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