Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Still Life - 1st Grade

This is the first week of a two-week project to welcome Spring. There are many great still life paintings out there on the web for children to examine and talk about -- take your pick and show them your favorite artists to kick things off. I had a real vase positioned on a piece of fabric for kids to compare with a painting of a flower vase. I asked, "What did the artist do to make the vase look realistic?"

 Hands shot up and kids saw everything I was hoping they would see!! Comments were: "The artist made a "circle" at the top of the vase (not everyone remembered the word "oval" so I wrote that word on the board), "The vase has a light side where the sunlight is hitting it", "There's dark shading on the shadow side", "The bottom of the vase is curved like the oval", and my favorite, "The table looks like it goes behind the vase so it looks like you can just walk up and pick up the vase with your hand."  Are these children observant or what!!!??!!

Then, using oil pastels, I did a directed lesson to get them started with the vase. (Start with drawing an oval in the center of the board. Add sides and bottom and color in everything BUT the oval. Make a vertical black strip on one side, and a matching white strip on the other side. Blend all layers together with curved, horizontal strokes, using the original color of pastel. (You can find a similar lesson with details and photos HERE.)The hardest part for little ones is to get that horizontal direction of their pastels as they blend the black, color and white together smoothly. I do a lot of walking around and assisting during that portion of the lesson. 

Next, they added a simple plaid, fabric table cloth using whatever colors they liked. ( I modeled how to do this, too.)

A few stems were added to get ready for the flowers that they will add with paint next week.
 The last step was to add 2 colors of chalk/pastels and smear it with their fingers for the subtle background.

Stay tuned for vases full of snapdragons next week:))


  1. Perfect mixed media lesson for spring! I like the light and shadow technique with oil pastels. Are the snapdragons made with finger prints? Can't wait to see the finished pieces!

  2. Yes, Mary, they are. This coming week kids will use tempera (double colors) to dip and print. Love the mess!!!