Step into the art room and one of the first things you may notice are the flowers in vases around the room. All grades at one time or another have made drawings and paintings based on these still life flower arrangements. The still life flowers are colorful, easy to set on the tables and the students really like them! Last year, all grades made paintings from the still life flowers with second grade spending a bit more focused time.
Below is a gallery of second and fourth grade paintings that were created from direct observation of the still life flowers. The students started their work looking at the still life but were invited to make changes to their compositions at any point during their work. This is a core learning in art class: how to begin an art piece from observation and then diverge from the observation using imagination, memory and prior learning.
A couple weeks later students created a second still life painting using a frame. The frame I demonstrated for students was a U shape for the vase and three large sunflower-like flowers. Students were asked to fill the top part of the composition with flowers, small and large and add any other details they wished. Similar to the observational drawing described above, I invited the students to change the frame at any point during their work using imagination, memory and/or prior learning. Below are examples of this second still life painting from grades 2-5.
The first still life compositions based on observation and the second ones based on a demo'd frame are examples of what I like to call starters. The purpose of a starter is to help students start. The starter poses a problem for students to solve. It gives those who need some structure a frame to construct their work on or for those who are ready for more independence, a starting place to begin their personal creative journey.