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Middle [6th-8th] Lesson Plan

Abstraction & Expressionism

Created on June 01, 2014 by CaptureCreativity

Students select a subject (family member, vacation spot, pet, etc.) and mood words that they associate with that subject. Based on their selections, students choose 2 primary colors (plus black and white). Using only color, line, and shape, students attempt to communicate their subject/mood in an abstract way.

53 Keeps, 9 Likes, 3 Comments

ARTISTS WILL use color, line, and shape to communicate a subject/mood in an abstract way with acrylic paint.

—9"x12" Canvas Boards (we used Blick)
—Acrylic Paint (Primaries + Black & White)
—Brushes (we used flat brushes)
—Round Palettes

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

—Students select a subject (person, place, experience, etc.)
—Students choose a mood word that they associate with chosen subject (consider working with language teachers here)
—Students select colors (we used 2 primaries + B&W) that they think best represent this mood (this may require some discussion about color associations)
—Students give their canvas a background fade/wash, using paintbrushes, excess water, paper towel dabbing, etc. (this gives them a chance to paint and blend freely on the canvas)
—Once the background is dry, students begin to play with tape overlays and "zips" (Barnett Newman term) to mask their background and to add shapes, lines and colors.
—Layer, layer, layer

Students are assessed on a rubric that is given out before the project. They are graded on a scale of 0-3 for categories including: Craft, Use of Materials and Technique, and Use of Class Time.

MoMA Barnett Newman technique video:

MoMA Franz Kline technique video:

MoMA Jackson Pollock technique video:

MoMA Mark Rothko technique video:

Make sure paint is dry before laying tape!
Make sure edges of tape are pressed firm to canvas (so the paint doesn't sneak under)

Helen Frankenthaler, Arschille Gorky, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko

Color Field, Abstract Expressionism, Abstract Art

Color/Value, Line, Shape, Texture, Unity/Harmony

Acrylic, Canvas

  • MFredieu 04/20/2015 at 05:57am
    I think this is a great lesson. Could you give just a little more in your teaching direction on how you guided the students through the process?

  • imagiNATION 04/01/2016 at 09:45am
    I agree, I would love more information on your process here.