Peter Diem inspired Cow sculpture~ Year 3-4 art lesson

Students used a combination of materials to make these Peter Diem inspired models.


To make a model of a Diem cow with clay with bright colours and texture.


I can make  a model of a Diem cow using air dry clay and paper clay, forming a body and head inspired by Peter Diem cows.

For the head, I can cover a cork with coloured paper clay (Model Magic) adding a mound for the head with wiggly ears.

The Body:

Air dry clay was used to form the body. Students formed a small pinch pot into a rounded shape, pulling and shaping legs so that it would stand.

The head:

A champagne cork was covered with paper clay (Crayola Model Magic) to form the head, long snout and ears)

Flatten out small pieces of coloured paper clay (Crayola Model Magic is perfect) and join together in a colourful “blanket” to then wrap around the cork, covering everything except the flat round bottom.

Form a flat square shape that will cover the end of the cork for the snout /nose of the cow. Join /blend edges with the other clay. Push a pencil in to make indents for nostrils.

Mold some more coloured paper clay into a shape like a wrapped lolly- round in the middle and two pieces at the side to form into wiggly ears. This is joined onto the top part of the cork and smoothed down, shaping the ears at the side. Add small balls with dots of another colour for eyeballs to press into the raised head mound.

Once the body is dry, use small amount of coloured Model Magic / paper clay to form small shapes and lines to press onto the body, adding colour and TEXTURE as it will be slightly raised from the surface.

Use some Model Magic to join the head to the body, checking it lines up with the legs in a frontal view and is forward to the front of the body in a side view.

Self Evaluation: (we used Seesaw and students added photos of their completed cow digitally)

Crazy Cows ~ Peter Diem inspired Year 3-4 art lesson

Peter Diem (born 1945) is a Dutch artist well known for his expressive use of colour and texture in his art. “He gained worldwide fame because of his vivid paintings and lively, colourful representations of Dutch cows.” We viewed the Peter Diem – Cows website for examples of his artworks and discussed the elements of art Diem used to make them: colour, line, shape, texture, space.


To learn about the Dutch artist Peter Diem, who paints cows in an abstract expressionism style. To explore Diem’s techniques when making his artworks, so I can be inspired by colour line and texture when adding details to my abstract cow.

To be able to describe the elements of art in Peter Diem’s artwork.

To be able to identify the materials and techniques Peter Diem uses.


I can describe a Peter Diem cow using the elements of art (colour, line, shape, space texture)- art response /Seesaw activity.

I can identify the techniques Diem uses to apply paint.

I can follow guided instruction to draw the shape of a peter Diem cow.

I can use expressive colours, lines and shapes on my cow.

I can choose a contrast colour for the background of my cow picture.

I can add details and texture to my cow by adding puffy paint lines and shapes.

I can describe the materials and techniques I used when making my Diem style cow.


Students viewed and discussed Diem’s cow artworks on his website. They were then given a task where they described the elements of art thy noticed in a cow painting. I used a Seesaw activity for them to respond. Here are some student examples:

We viewed some videos of Diem in action to learn about his materials and techniques, noting how he draws the cow, and methods of applying paint- brush, finger, hand, straight from the tube.

Videos about Diem and his work:

Peter Diem in Het Klokhuis #1/4 ‘Cows’ (Diem sketching a cow from beginning doing a painting then skip to 1:40min to see him drawing a cow.)

Peter Diem, the painter. US Documentary by Charles Giuliano (To see Diem’s method of painting- hands, fingers, straight from tube, etc.)

Students are shown how to draw a simplified cow, Diem style – just the outline-in the shape of a Diem painting. Students then outline in black or a dark colour crayon or pastel.

Use bright and fluorescent oil pastels to add lines and shapes and patterns, considering the features of Diem’s work. It is then painted over to fill the gaps and a contrast colour painted for the background.

The next lesson we made puffy paint with PVA glue, shaving cream and food colouring in a zip-lock bag, and mushed it around to mix the 3 ingredients. A TINY bit of one corner of the bag is cut off to enable squeezing out fluid lines of puffy paint! They could outline or add lines to their design for amazing TEXTURE.

Once complete, students reflect on their work noting (circling or highlighting) materials (mediums) and techniques they used when making their Diem style cow, as well as the best thing, and what they might change if repeating the piece.