painting
K-12EducatorsThe Arts

Experimenting with Media and Materials – Lesson Plan

Students experiment with medium and paper to better understand the creative process.

  • Length: 1-3 class periods
  • Grades: 6-12

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Students will learn about a creative process through experimentation.
  • Students will address a single subject using a variety of artistic processes and will reflect upon those processes.
  • Students will identify and appreciate stages of development in their works and in the works of others.

Resources Used:
(Found On: Spectrum of Art Part 2: Subject Matter and Genres)
Realism: Landscape
Realism: Self-Portrait
Realism: Still Life

Vocabulary, Materials, and Handouts

Vocabulary:
color, contrast, cross-hatching, form, landscape, media, portrait, process, realism, still life, subject matter, transparent, underpainting, wash

Materials:
TV/VCR or DVD player, magazines for photos of simple subjects (people, places, or things that can be easily sketched), dark paper, dry medium such as pastel or crayon, light textured paper, wet medium such as tempera or watercolor, brushes, paper towels, palettes or plates for mixing

Handouts:

  • Student Directions
  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Multiple-Choice Questions Answer Key

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Instructional Strategies and Activities

Pre-Video Discussion
Being creative is hard work. Every painter, poet, or novelist has struggled with the initial stages of a new project. As students view the three segments exploring realism, have them consider their own work styles and think about the difficulties of beginning any creative project and the way they overcame those difficulties.

Viewing Activity
As they watch the video segment, have students write down phrases the artists use to describe the beginning stages of their works and/or how and why they work with various media/processes.

Activity
The “Student Directions” handout contains complete instructions for the art activity; a summary follows.

DAY 1: Students will select a simple subject, such as a clearly defined photograph of a person, place, or thing. Have students sketch using dark paper and light to medium pastel or crayon pieces. For the dark paper, you may improvise with brown wrapping paper or construction paper, or purchase paper such as 20" X 30" sheets of heavy Canford paper in brick or spice. Students may use shading or cross-hatching.

DAY 2: Students will try the same subject again with very different materials. Have students select a piece of highly textured white paper such as cold-pressed watercolor paper, canvas or canvas-paper, or white-primed masonite panels cut in random sizes. Students will use tempera or watercolor and a broad brush.

DAY 3 (or end of Day 2): Students will compare both products and reflect on the use of processes and the results. Students will analyze their work in a short written piece and share their opinions with other students.

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Performance Assessment

Performance Event:
The three “Realism” segments from Looking at Painting take us inside the painter’s mind as we see how four artists develop their paintings. Explore this process yourself through two experimental studies.

Directions:

  1. Choose a simple subject for this experiment. You will do two studies of the subject you have chosen.
  2. Use dark paper and a dry medium such as crayon or pastel for the first study.
  3. The second study of the same subject will be on a light, textured paper, and you will use a wet medium such as tempera or watercolor.
  4. Describe your style in writing and discuss it in class. Be sure to use appropriate art terminology to describe your style.

Performance Scoring Guide

4 3 2 1 0
Student completes all elements of the project within the time frame determined by the teacher. The student’s work demonstrates in-depth understanding of the purpose of the experiment. Craftsmanship is effective, and the student appears focused and soundly invested in the project. Student communicates effectively about the painting process through writing and discussion and shares in an insightful manner with other students. Student completes all elements of the project within the time frame determined by the teacher. The student’s work demonstrates good understanding of the purpose of the experiment. Craftsmanship is generally effective, and the student appears generally focused and invested in the project. Student communicates effectively about the painting process through writing and discussion. Student completes both parts of the project. The student’s work demonstrates basic understanding of the purpose of the experiment. Craftsmanship and effort are adequate. Student makes a basic effort to communicate about the painting process through writing and discussion. Student makes some attempt but does not fully complete the project as directed. Work shows limited understanding of the purpose of the project and clearly lacks investment in the assignment. Work shows minimal craftsmanship, and the student is ineffective in communicating about the painting process through writing and discussion. Blank, no answer, or irrelevant response.

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Support - Connections - Resources - Author

Impressionists and Post-Impressionists appreciated the process of painting and consciously retained brushstrokes, lines, and areas of raw canvas. Go online or to the library to look up works such as Margot in Blue by Mary Cassatt, La Danseuse aux Chaussons by Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh, and Rouen Cathedral Full Sunlight by Claude Monet. Here are some web sites with examples:

Author:
Elizabeth Jewell

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