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Multiple Level Lesson Plan

Overlapping Shape Paintings

Created on August 04, 2012 by KatieMorris

Students will create watercolor paintings using geometric shapes and analogous colors. This lesson is intended to teach students about color theory, geometric shapes, composition, and painting. I taught this to 4th grade and I think it would work for any higher grade as well.

44 Keeps, 12 Likes, 1 Comments

3 sessions; 40 minutes per session

1. The students will learn the difference between geometric and organic shapes.
2. The students will identify geometric shapes covered in their math curriculum.
3. The students will arrange and trace geometric shapes to create an interesting composition with overlapping to create new shapes.
4. The students will understand that analogous colors are side by side on the color wheel.
5. The students will paint each shape with an analogous color combination.

1. Watercolor Paper
2. Pencils/Erasers
3. Sharpies
4. Shape stencils (I printed shapes associated with their math curriculum on cardstock, laminated, and cut out)
5. Compass
6. Rulers
7. Watercolor Paint and Brushes
7. Salt

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1. Introduction
-Review organic and geometric shapes
-Identify geometric shapes in math curriculum
2. Demo and trace shapes
-Demonstrate tracing and overlapping traced shapes
-Think about arrangement/composition to achieve balance
3. Add larger circles using compass
4. Add straight lines
-Use ruler to make a few straight lines at different angles to break up the shapes and negative space
5. Trace pencil lines with sharpie
6. Add color and texture
-Introduce/Review analogous colors
-Paint 2 analogous colors inside each shape, one shape at a time. Paint must be wet to let the colors blend. (Remind students that the overlapping created new smaller shapes. Each small shape has its own colors, not the big shapes they traced.)
-While watercolors are still wet, sprinkle a tiny bit of table salt on paint which will create texture when it dries.
-Skip around paper while painting to achieve balance (if some white space remains it should be spread out) and prevent colors from running into different shapes.

Was the student on task and following directions?
Did the student overlap shapes and lines to create new shapes?
Did the student use analogous color combinations to paint their shapes?
Did the student paint carefully to maintain good craftsmanship?
Is the composition balanced?

This was born out of an Op Art lesson so Op Art images could be incorporated for Art History.


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

[K-4] Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses
[5-8] Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas
[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

[K-4] Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas
[5-8] Students employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas
[9-12 Proficient] Students create artworks that use organizational principles and functions to solve specific visual arts problems
[9-12 Advanced] Students create multiple solutions to specific visual arts problems that demonstrate competence in producing effective relationships between structural choices and artistic functions

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[5-8] Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks

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

[K-4] Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum
[5-8] Students describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts
[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

Op Art

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

Painting, Watercolor


  • Jenncook678 08/21/2012 at 09:08pm
    This would work really well as an introduction to watercolour and a review of colour theory and shapes. I think I just might use this!
    I’m wondering if I can’t even incorporate a lesson on depth as well. With all the overlapping, it could be just the activity to allow students to demonstrate/experiment with how things get cooler and duller as they recede in the distance.
    I’ll try both, and if it works I’ll let you know. Thank you very much!