Friday, February 12, 2010

MS: A Painter's World





Middle school work at last! This is a project I designed during my student teaching at RISD. The goal for this lesson was to study a painting and recreate it in a three-dimensional model, applying the artists' painting technique and color palette. It was also to understand scale and construct models. We first looked at a slideshow of different landscape paintings and analyzed them using elements and principles of design while also answering a worksheet that required students to look closely at their piece. Students then cut out the main features of their painting out of paper, traced them onto illustration board, and cut them out with x-acto knives. Before painting their model, students practiced painting certain elements separately and then painted their final boards with acrylic. They all came out am-az-ing! I was also happy to find out that a RISD professor has been assigning this project every year with the foundation students. It's a great way for students to expand their painting skills.


  1. I did a lesson just like this in my 3D foundation class with...I'm blanking on his name...

  2. Thanks Ruth! I have some blue tinted shades from Costa Del Mar that were too small for Jeremiah's face that I love! They are fancy for people like him that are out on the water in the sun for a long time ;)

    How's your vacation been? I am being a bump on a log! Are you and Danny around this weekend at all for dinner? (or the following) :)

  3. This is sweet! And very hard to do. I would've torn my hair out!

  4. I found this lesson and did it using box tops from copy paper boxes and other sized box tops, and used only one flat board (it was a mini science board). I found the flat boards to bend, so we didn't use them. I used foam core for most of the stand up pieces and the kids chose how to attach them after sharing many different ways to attach. Most difficult was color matching and copying Van Gogh's strokes on Starry Night...those girls worked it over so may times (acrylics so it was easy to repaint). We did not practice too much the style before hand which I would do next time. But Kudo's to the project! I am actually going to teach something like this at a workshop, and I will credit you and your training! see pictures at

  5. I love this project! I'd love to use it for the final assignment this semester. Would you be willing to share the lesson plan worksheets that you used for the project?

  6. Hi iloveartandcomputers! I would totally share with you my worksheets if I still had them! I remember putting in small pictures of the references in a hat and had students pick out their painting that way so it was fun and surprising, and then they glued that picture inside a folded sheet of paper. Under the picture were a few questions ranging from basic "who's the artist, what's the date, medium, etc" to more analytical ones like "how did the artist show movement?" and I also gave a couple of questions where the student had to circle an element or principle of design that applied best to their painting. At the end of the project I had them write an answer the question: "If you could step inside the painting, what would you do? where would you go?" Something like that.. I hope this helps!

  7. I absolutely love this project. I teach elementary and middle school art and am planning a lesson like the one you show. I have been searching for the artists of the red sleigh and seascape. Could you share their names?

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thank you so much! The painting with the red sleigh is by Eyvind Earle- "Central Park", the holiday card version, which is exactly the same but includes the sleigh. The seascape is by Henri Rousseau, "The Storm Tossed Vessel". I hope your students enjoy the project!