abstract 3d art
K-12EducatorsThe Arts

Emotion in 3D Abstract Art – Lesson Plan

Using Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Angles for inspiration, students create an expressive abstract sculpture using the subtractive process for sculpting.

  • Length: 4-6 class periods
  • Grades: 6-8

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Students explore the expressive qualities of abstract sculpture.
  • Students create abstract sculpture to express an emotion.
  • Students use appropriate art vocabulary to analyze and describe their work.

Resource Used:
Reclining Figure: Angles by Henry Moore

Vocabulary and Materials

Vocabulary:
abstract, African art, art elements (form, space, texture), interpretation, Modernism, non-objective, pre-Columbian American art, principles of design (balance, rhythm/movement, emphasis, proportion, unity), sculpture media, subtractive process

Materials:
paper, pencils, bars of soap or blocks of paraffin, carving tools (such as butter knives, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, clay tools, rasps), water and water containers to soften the soap

↑ Top

Instructional Strategies and Activities

Day 1
View and discuss Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Angles. Ask students to describe the sculpture in terms of the elements of art and the principles of design. Interpret its subject matter, mood, and purpose. Discuss general components of modern art. Use web sites for further class research.

  • What is a goal or objective of Modern art?
  • How did African and pre-Columbian American artifacts influence Modern art?
  • Which elements of art and principles of design are used in creating three-dimensional art?

Expressive Abstract Sculpture
Henry Moore, along with many other Modern artists, wanted his artwork to be more than just a realistic representation of an object. One of his goals with his abstract sculpture was to create “something of the energy and power of great mountains.” Along with strong form, Moore wished to express a feeling.
Moore’s Reclining Figure: Angles, with its hilly contours, horizontal pose, and monumental size, can easily be seen as a metaphor for a landscape. Many art historians interpret Moore’s large, reclining figure as an expression of “Mother Earth”—solid, powerful, and majestic.

Day 2
Students begin work on their own sculptures with the following warm-up

exercise: Instruct students to divide a piece of paper into 6-8 sections, labeling each section with an emotion. Ask students to imagine how each of these emotions might look. In other words, using line, shape, and value, draw the emotions without the use of symbols, words, or object representation. (For example, anger might be shown with sharp, diagonal lines.)

At the end of class, students can compare drawings, noting similarities and differences.

Days 3-5
Ask students to choose an emotion to explore three-dimensionally. Distribute soap or paraffin. Demonstrate how to plan the carving of abstract elements by penciling in areas to be carved away (subtracted) on all sides of the soap or paraffin.

Students then carve a form inspired by an emotion. Remind them to make the sculpture interesting from all points of view. Students should explore both positive and negative space in the composition and note repetition.

On the last day of this lesson, display all of the students’ sculptures. Encourage students to analye their own work, considering art elements, principles of design, subject matter, mood, and purpose. Encourage students to evaluate the success of their sculptures in relation to the purpose, use of the elements and principles, etc.

↑ Top

Support - Connections - Resources - Author

↑ Top

Performance Assessment

Performance Event:
Using Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Angles for inspiration, create an expressive abstract sculpture using the subtractive process for sculpting. Within this lesson you will utilize several elements of art and principles of design.

Directions:
Identify the emotion that inspired your sculpture. Describe how your artwork exemplifies a stylistic goal of Modern art. While looking at it from three different points of view, analyze the characteristics of your three-dimensional piece using art terms. How does it differ from a two-dimensional piece?

Performance Scoring Guide

4 3 2 1 0
The student clearly identifies the emotion that inspired his/her sculpture. The student clearly and completely describes the correlation between his/her artwork and a stylistic goal of Modern art. The student thoroughly analyzes the characteristics of his/her three-dimensional piece, using art terms and describing it from three different points of view. The student explains how his/her piece differs from a two-dimensional piece. The student communicates clearly and effectively, with insightful use of examples or relevant details about visual art. The student identifies the emotion that inspired his/her sculpture. The student describes the correlation between his/her artwork and a stylistic goal of Modern art. The student analyzes the characteristics of his/her three-dimensional artwork, using art terms and describing it from three different points of view. The student explains how his/her piece differs from a two-dimensional piece. The student communicates effectively, using examples or relevant details about visual art. The student identifies the emotion that inspired his/her sculpture. The student generally describes the correlation between his/her sculpture and a stylistic goal of Modern art. The student analyzes the characteristics of his/her three-dimensional artwork using only one or two art terms and describes it from fewer than three different points of view. The student gives little to no explanation of how his/her artwork differs from a two-dimensional piece. The student’s answer is incomplete, demonstrating only a minimal understanding of the concepts. The student is unclear in defining the emotion that inspired his/her sculpture. The student inadequately describes the correlation between his/her sculpture and a stylistic goal of Modern art. The student analyzes the characteristics of his/her three-dimensional artwork by using only one or two art terms. The student gives no explanation of how his/her artwork differs from a two-dimensional piece. Blank, no answer, or irrelevant response.

↑ Top