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.

LESSON ACTIVITIES:

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.

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 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.

Lesson plan (approx 3 lessons to complete) with learning intentions, success criteria, lesson activities, links to useful videos about Diem & his techniques, steps for drawing, reflection sheet, student examples. Victorian Curriculum links.