Expressionism Portraits: Alexei Jawlensky inspired- Grade Prep art lesson

This art lesson is suitable for Prep students (adaptable to Year 1 & 2) and I loved the way the artworks turned out. The use of colour is stunning! It will take 2-3 lessons depending on the class time allotment. I have hour lessons, so two and a bit of the next lesson gave enough time to discuss, explore, reflect and share.

Alexei Jawlensky (born 1864, died 1941) was a Russian Expressionist painter, (moved to Germany in 1896 and was a founding member of the New Munich Artist’s Association.) He is known mostly for his portrait art of heads and the use of bold, contrasting colours and strong directional brushstrokes.

The students viewed artworks by Jawlensky, describing what they saw, discussing use of colour, style of art, feelings conveyed.

‘Head’ 1910 by Alexei Jawlensky, pictured left, could be used on a platform like Seesaw for students to record their description and thoughts about the artwork, which can be used to assess the achievement standard at Level F in the Victorian Curriculum: “Students identify and describe the subject matter and ideas in artworks they make and view.”

After discussing placement of features on a face, students used a mirror to draw their head and shoulders and traced over with a thick permanent marker.

Students used chalk pastels on the side edge to gently lay down colour to then blend with fingertips for the background (of course there are always some who get excited and use their whole hand or even both!) They used water soluble pastels for the face and body. Water is brushed is over the pastel areas to smooth out the colour, giving it a painterly effect.

For students at this age, they can reflect on their artwork by sharing with others or describing their piece on a platform like Seesaw.

Prep/ Foundation Victorian Curriculum Lesson Plan with learning intentions, success criteria, step by step materials and techniques.

Feelings, Emotions and Colour: art lesson- Prep / Foundation

Lesson for Prep /Foundation class.

I used a number of picture story books, like ‘My Many Coloured Days’ by Dr Seuss and the Inside Out movie characters to discuss how feelings and emotions can be expressed with colours. We looked at the colour wheel to choose colours that best go with some common emotions: for example: happy (yellow), sad (blue), angry (red), frightened (orange), embarrassed (purple) and relaxed (green).

I drew some examples of faces with various emotions on the board. I got the children to draw a face showing a feeling next to each colour on the colour wheel in their books.

Children then choose 4 feelings to show on 4 faces. They traced a face template and drew their four chosen emotions in black waterproof marker (Prockey), using examples to help. Then they used food dye wash to paint each face the colour matching the emotions.

We discussed how we can feel all sorts of emotions even in one day. I had drawn an outline of a body on large sheets of paper and they used different colour pastels to trace over the border . They then use water colour paints to paint patches of colours on the inside of the body shape to represent our varying emotions.

The faces were then cut out and glued around the body shape. The faces could be smaller than what we did (as I had the brainwave to combine the two activities. You could of course display them as separate artworks!) Here are a couple put together:

Students share their pictures, describing the emotions shown and colours chosen, maybe relating a time they felt that particular emotion.

Learning Intentions & Success Criteria, links to useful videos and story books, lesson activities, and Victorian Curriculum links.