Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Apple Still Life

I rarely use a lesson I find on-line without tweaking it a bit, but I recently found two still life lessons that I absolutely LOVE just the way they are. One is a bird's eye view of apples modeled after Matisse, which we are doing this week. It was done at Prospect School on Artsonia (here). I think the only thing we did differently was to "paint" the apples with a spoon instead of a brush.

Today I began my lesson playing a game with the class. I hid an apple in my "mystery box" and kids tried to guess what was in the box by asking "yes" or "no" questions. Then we moved the Smartboard to take a look at apple still life paintings by Matisse, Cezanne and Renoir. The final slide showed this bird's eye still life of a plate of apples that the student's used as the visual for their own work.

First, they traced around a foam plate to make their plate. We used the plastic lids to our paint portion cups to trace apples on the plate and to the side of the plate.

Instead of using paintbrushes, I showed the students how we can use other tools to apply tempera paint -- in this case, the back of a plastic spoon. I asked that they swirl the spoon in a circular motion, trying to leave part of each apple white. We let these dry. As you can see above, we had an overflow of drying art and I hung some out in the patio (in the strong wind!!!) to dry. We had a little time at the end of class for me to read the kids an "apple" story. What a great day!!

Next week, students will outline the plate with black crayon and then complete the plate and background with watercolors painting in a shadow for the plate and apples.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this lesson Christie! I had pinned the same lesson, but didn't quite know how they achieved such beautiful results with the apples. I especially love the shadows and watercolor background. I will definitely be trying this.

    1. We haven't gotten to the shadows and background yet, Mary. Hopefully all will go well!!!!!!!

  2. Creative project; I love the process, waiting for the final results.

  3. I do really think tis a gorgeous work!!!

  4. I hope to be able to do this project by painting apples, then plate, then backround, cutting and pasting when dried. I work with older folks and that way they won't have to worry about going "outside the lines".

  5. I just tried this in my first grade classroom today. Thank you for the wonderful idea. I posted about it and linked to you!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First