Hundertwasser Flowers for Little Ones

Timeframe: 4-45 minute sessions
Grade Level: Pre K-2
Materials: 12x18 white tag board, liquid watercolors, black permanent markers, pearlescent or metallic watercolors, sequins, glue, pencils

This lesson was inspired by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He uses a lot of concentric circles to represent flowers and trees in his artwork. Thus, the circular flowers in this lesson. I have taught this with fifth grade in the past, and it has always been a very productive and delightful lesson. I was curious to see how the lesson would go with younger students. I taught this lesson to a group of students grades pre-K through 5th. You will be able to see the difference in the age and ability levels in the photographs. I was really pleased at products the students of all ages produced. This is a great lesson for all ages. You can incorporate the art skills and vocabulary into this lesson that suit your students' needs. Its a very adaptable lesson. 
It is also a great lesson for regular education teachers. It lends itself well to a descriptive writing project.

Here's what we did:
First, the students viewed and discussed Hundertwasser's artwork. Then, they drew concentric circles with a pencil to create the flowers. I traced the circles on the paper with my finger for the younger students who then made the same motion with their fingers. After they were comfortable with the motion of their fingers, they drew it with their pencils. It is very hard for young children to hold their pencils steady. That is a very important skill that they work on for several years before mastery. Therefore, celebrate the uniqueness of the lines they create and don't worry about the smoothness of their marks. The projects in the pictures below really have a special charm to them because of the unsteady lines the young students created.

The next step was to trace over the pencil lines with a black permanent marker. Again, the younger students won't be able to do this perfectly. Even the older students miss some pencil marks when tracing with a permanent marker. Therefore, it is best to have the students erase the pencil marks that are left after they trace.

They painted the flowers with a combination of liquid watercolors and pearlescent watercolor sets. This is a great project to teach warm and cool colors. You can instruct the students to select either warm or cool colors for their flowers and the opposite for their background. (Just a suggestion, I didn't do this with my lesson, but wish that I had.) I usually have my students to trace over their permanent marker lines with another black marker after painting. However, the permanent markers won't write on the pearlescent watercolor paint. (Just a hint!)

Notice the difference between the pre-K work and this 5th grader's work.

I really love this project. So many things make it wonderful for students of all ages. It is easy enough that all students can do it with great success. It can be done in a shorter time span than most other projects. Students have choice in how they draw the flowers, stems, and leaves. They have choice in the color schemes. They enjoy using the pearlescent watercolors. It helps younger students develop fine motor skills. It meets the needs of learners in a wide range of ages and readiness/ability levels. 

As always, please feel free to post comments. Let everyone know if you like this lesson, if you have tried it, offer helpful hints, ask questions, etc. Like There's a Party in the Art Room on Facebook to share photos of your projects. Also, don't forget to become a member of this blog and share with your friends and colleagues!
 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room