Gustav Klimt Inspired Trees in Grade Five

Gustav Klimt is a wonderful artist to introduce to your students. The shapes, shiny metallic colors, patterns and swirls Klimt  used are very appealing to me and his art is sure to connect with your students too.

Bahrain is where I call home right now and it is also home to an apparently 400 years old tree named  the Tree of Life. What makes this tree so special is that it not only lives in the middle of the desert,  it also still remains a mystery where the tree gets it’s water source. Since all of my students have visited the tree at some point, it was the perfect subject matter to draw and paint a la Klimt mode!

After talking about Klimt and looking at his famous artwork, we concentrated on his painting of the Tree of Life, which I absolutely adore by the way! The kids loved the swirls and patterns and since I had some metallic acrylic paint available, we were in business!

Everyone got 12×18 paper and designed their own interpretation and vision of the tree of life. My only requirement was that the tree should fill up most of the paper space, the tree trunk could be any shape but relatively thick and there could be no visible leaves,  just branches. This encouraged the students to be creative with the way they drew the branches and how they spread them out on the paper.

The trees were outlined with black markers.

Next, the students divided sections in the tree trunk and filled each section with different lines and patterns with a dark pencil. These were not outlined with a black marker. Thick branches were also  filled with pencil lines and patterns.

Finally, geometric and organic shapes were designed under the tree, between the branches and open spaces around the tree. These were painted with the metallic paints and it certainly was a nice contrast with the black and white lines of their artwork.

I loved how these turned out and now my students love Gustav Klimt almost as much as I do! What do you think?


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Textured Animals in Grade One

Next time you talk about lines and texture with your students, why not try this fun lesson that everyone will enjoy!  I found this idea over at the Dick Blick Art site where they have a great selection of lesson plans for each grade level. I changed it a bit so click here if you would like to see the original lesson.

We started by talking about lines and the different lines around us in the environment. We went on a line hunt around the school and the students recorded all the lines they could see on some paper.

Back in the classroom, after a brief discussion about all the lines we saw, we then went on to brainstorm some favorite animals. Each child received a 12×18 piece of paper and drew an outline of their favorite animal or insect making sure they used up most of the paper space. I gave out thin markers and they each divided sections inside their animals and filled them up with all sorts of creative lines.

With the two oil pastel colors…gorgeous!

Next, the animals were  outlined  heavily with oil pastels in two colors just to make them stand out.

The final and exciting step was to paint the backgrounds with some wonderful metallic colored acrylic paints. The kids loved this part and it made the lines and texture on their beautiful animals and insects look amazing! 🙂

Wonderful, don’t you think?


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