Friday, January 21, 2011

Camera Still Life

 Resources to Consider
Camera images, I created a folder on my desktop full of images and I created a sideshow that I showed on my Smart Board. 
Visuals of cameras, still life images and examples of contour line drawings
Artist, Georgia O'keeffe (Any artist that draws or paints ordinary objects would be great, we just happened to be studying her work right before so it was a good way to tie together two units.)

Intended Grade Level(s): 3rd-6th
Estimated Class Period(s):4-6
Materials Required: Old/vintage cameras, one for each table or more, pencils, sharpies, white drawing paper, paint, brushes, water
Goals and Objectives: The goals of this lesson are technique and procedure based.
GLEs Accomplished In Lesson:  3rd Grade PP 1. B Paint lines and fill in shapes with even color using tempera (this is the main GLE I focused on for week 2-3).
Procedure (Guided Lesson, Instructions, etc):
Have a classroom discussion about still life. Demonstrate how to do a contour line drawing.
Project (Steps, Examples, etc):
1.    Explain that today we will focus on some basic drawing skills. The best way to become better at drawing is to practice. Today we will do some basic drawing exercises.
2.    Show examples of contour line drawing and also figure drawing using ovals and circles. Explain what a blind contour means.
3.    Explain that for the first few minutes, we will just get warmed up. Each drawing that we will do today will be timed. You will have 30 seconds, 1 minute or sometimes a bit longer to draw the subject matter.
4.    Have students draw a variety of cameras on pieces of paper, they can keep using the same piece, flip it over or they can get a new piece. Have them start drawing in pencil but try to discourage them from erasing, it takes way too long. Have them keep drawing for the entire time, they could add value or detail or pattern to their sketch. I explained that students should focus on one part of the camera, draw a box and completely fill it with one tiny bit of the camera, utilizing the corners, making it much larger in order to show variety and created an interesting composition, similar to the way O'keeffe would paint close ups of flowers, instead of just painting a flower in a vase.
5.    Students should draw for at least 30 minutes doing these basic drawing exercises.
6.    Discussion: Have students select their 3 best drawings. What do they like about the drawing?  Have them critique each others drawings.

Week 2. Students had to go back to their basic drawing sketches from week 1 and select a sketch to draw big on a piece of paper.

After they drew the camera, students outlined and added contrast in sharpie marker

They also had to 'draw' with yellow paint on a 12X18 piece of paper. This is a practice 'drawing/painting' for their larger camera still life painting next week. (I don't have images of this step)

All drawn by 4th grade.

Week 3: Students looked back at their 'practice painting' from week 1. Since they had practiced 'drawing' the outline in paint, it was much easier for them to get the shape of the camera right on the big paper.
The paintings below are all over 22" X 28"....I am not sure of the exact measurements.

We had to spread out on the floor to have room for this part. Students painted a large yellow outline on this HUGE paper. After painting the basic outline in yellow, students used florescent tempera paint to fill in the shapes. I had 1 brush in each color so that we didn't have to worry about spilling water buckets. I had 6 sets of colors sitting around the room on the floor for students to use.

Week 4: After the paint dried, I had some students go back with a black sharpie to add some outlines. These paintings looked very beautiful in the hall.

The week after finishing the project I hung up all the art in the hallways. It was right before spring break. I will never forget it, I came down with a really bad case of strep throat two days before our week off. It was miserable. When I came in to school a week and a half later, I found that the windows had been bricked-over during spring break in order to add some new classrooms to our school. Instead of a well-lit hallway, it was very dark and depressing and they didn't paint over the exposed gray bricks for almost 6 months, well after I had taken down the camera paintings.


  1. Ooh...I love these! What a great project. Some of them remind me of Hundertwasser with all the colors, lines and shapes. Such a unique idea. I'm going to have to "borrow" it sometime.

  2. very cool! i love the scale of them. i can totally see the hundertwasser thing.