Watercolors- Hundertwasser Lesson

Timeframe: Four-45 minute sessions
Grade Level: 5th

Another of  my favorite artists is Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He did these really cool paintings with concentric circles for flowers and trees. This lesson is based on (what I call) Hundertwasser's flowers. He used this concept in many of his works. This project was my most successful 5th grade project of this school year. The 5th graders come in combined classes. So there are usually about 25-30 students in each session. They are VERY social. In other words, they don't do well with a lot of oral instructions. That is why I think this project was so successful. It is self-explanatory. I really didn't have to give many oral instructions. It was something that they could do easily as they talked with their friends and still do a great job. Every single piece that was created was frameable, and that almost never happens!

Here's what we did:
The students drew circles of varying sizes across their 11x14 white tagboard. I instructed them to visualize their work before they drew, and to draw the circles so that the flowers would be different heights. Then they drew the stems using wavy lines and added leaves. I also asked them to make sure they varied where the leaves were placed on the stems of their flowers, so that each flower would look different.

After they finished drawing, they outlined the flowers with a black oil pastel. They added three dots to the flowers to make their lines more interesting to look at. I didn't tell them where to put the dots, just that each flower could only have one set of 3 dots. We usually use black permanent markers for outlining, but we were running low and out of funds to purchase more. So, we used oil pastels instead. I made sure to warn the students about accidentally smearing the oil pastel.  They were also warned to take their time and cover the pencil marks with the black oil pastel. I let them know ahead of time that they wouldn't be able to do much erasing after they finished with the oil pastel.

This took about one-45 minute session.

They chose either warm or cool colors for the flowers. Then they used the opposite for the background. So some students had blue and purple flowers with an orange background. They used different shades of green for the stems and leaves. We talked about value.
This took some students one-45 minute session, but most students took two sessions.

They used Yasutomo Niji pearlescent watercolor sets. I LOVE these. The students LOVE these. They get so engaged in their work and learning when they get to use fun art supplies. They also used watercolor wheels. They love those too because they stack and screw together for storage. They think that is awesome! Kids are amazed by the simplest things. Anyway, my students and I highly recommend these two products and this project. If not this project, try something else based on Hundertwasser's work. I will post more of our (different) Hundertwasser projects soon!

 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room