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High [9th-12th] Lesson Plan

Leaf Observation Paintings

Created on June 21, 2022 by KatieMorris

Students use multiple senses to observes leaf collected on a nature walk before making an abstract painting based on their observations.

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1. The students will participate in a nature walk and choose a leaf that appeals to them.
2. The students will carefully observe their leaves and write down as many observations as they can using multiple senses.
3. The students will learn vocabulary related to leaf structures.
4. The students will discuss Georgia O’Keeffe’s abstracted leaf paintings.
5. The students will create an abstract painting inspired by the observations about their leaves.
6. The students will apply knowledge of color theory and mixing paint colors.
7. The students will “develop craft” by showing care in the development of their compositions, good craftsmanship in handling tools and materials, and putting effort into mastering the use of different materials.

Notebook paper and pencils
Masking Tape
Drawing boards
Canvas paper- 9x12 or 8x10
Oil Pastels
Acrylic paint and brushes

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

This class is intended to take 3-4 class periods
Day 1: Go on a nature walk through the part of the Cross Country course. Encourage students to watch for a leaf that they like. When everyone has a leaf, return to class. Pass out notebook paper and ask students to write down as many different observations about their leaf as they can. When students have finished, ask them to share observations. Ask students what their leaf feels like (texture) and smells like if those observations have not been made. Explain that leaves covered in “hairs” or with strong smells tend to be less attractive to animals that eat plants. Show the leaves document to give students vocabulary about venation and simple/compound leaves. Allow students to add more observations. Pass out canvas paper and drawing boards and have students use masking tape to attach paper to boards. Ask students to choose an oil pastel and guide them through the steps of drawing their abstract leaves.
Locate the center vein and observe the angle and any curves. Use an oil pastel that fits within your chosen color scheme to draw that line stretching from top to bottom of the paper. It can be in the center or more diagonal.
Find the next level of veins that branch off of the main vein. Draw those from the center vein to the edges of the paper.
Add any more veins, holes, etc.
Day 2: Teacher demonstrates acrylic painting techniques and remind students about mixing colors rather than using them straight out of the bottle. The students will be reminded that adding a complementary color neutralizes a hue- adding green to red makes it darker and less bright. The teacher will remind students that since the leaves are being abstracted they should look at the shapes created by the oil pastel lines and paint each individually. Changes in hue or value will help the different parts stand out. Students will spend the rest of the class painting their leaves.
Day 3 (and 4 if needed): Students will finish up their paintings. Students can decide if they want to add oil pastel details back on top of the acrylic paintings.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[9-12 Proficient] Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks

Visual Arts Standard 2:
Using knowledge of structures and functions

[9-12 Proficient] Students evaluate the effectiveness of artworks in terms of organizational structures and functions
[9-12 Proficient] Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems

Visual Arts Standard 6:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

[9-12 Advanced] Students synthesize the creative and analytical principles and techniques of the visual arts and selected other arts disciplines, the humanities, or the sciences

Georgia O’Keeffe

Abstract Art

Color/Value, Line, Shape, Unity/Harmony

Acrylic, Pastel