Description of the Unit – While outside on a beautiful fall day, students observed Autumn leaves, noticing the colors, shapes and textures of each leaf. Back in the art room, students used their observations to create their own vibrantly colored fall leaves.
Activity statement – Though we don’t live on the east coast, with their wide swathes of Autumn color painting the landscape, here in California we still have a variety of deciduous trees that change into luminous shades of orange, bright yellows and deep reds. At the school where I teach we are fortunate to have a row of maples, some cherry trees, and sycamore trees that turn lovely fall colors. The students wandered around campus observing the leaves, expressing the colors, shapes and textures that they noticed. We discussed such terms as warm vs. cool color, texture, shape and pattern. They brought some leaves back to class to explore further.
Students then arranged various sizes and shapes of bleeding tissue paper in warm fall colors onto a thick paper format, and “painted” water over the tissue, with the color bleeding into various textures. Once dry, students then traced an actual leaf outline from the leaves they found on our excursion, cutting the leaf out, ten, if they chose, drawing the pattern of veins over it. This was an excellent way to help develop those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Meanwhile, as they worked we reinforced the terms we spoke of above, using them in their observations of their own artistic process and resulting product.
Goals – Students should…
- The meaning of warm and cool color
- The meaning of texture
- The meaning of shape
- What colors are considered warm and which are cool
Be able to:
- Identify a pattern
- Express types of textures (i.e., “rough,” “smooth,” “scratchy,” “wavy,” etc.,)
- Express patten and texture through line
- Identify warm and cool colors
- Manipulate scissors to trace around a leaf
Resources and materials –
- An outdoor space where students can look at leaves, or leaves brought to the class that students can examine
- White heavyweight paper
- Bleeding tissue paper in warm colors
- Cups with water
- What do you think of these leaves?
- How do these leaves feel to you?
- What kinds of shapes do you see in these leaves?
- What do you notice about the veins? Do you see patterns? Describe.
- Which colors are warm colors? Why?
- Which colors are cool colors? Why?
- What are the primary colors?
- What are the secondary colors?
- What makes a secondary color? Which colors make green? Which make purple? Which make orange?
- Understand the difference between warm and cool colors?
- Understand what texture is?
- Able to describe texture and pattern?
- Able to identify shapes?
- Effectively manipulate scissors to create leaf shapes?
- Class discussion
- Responses to questions
- One finished piece
Finished student examples: