Cezanne-Inspired Still Life for K and Beyond

Today my Kinders learned about Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne, and painted a still life inspired by him.  This lesson was so successful on so many levels!  

First, we talked about how Cezanne’s father didn’t encourage him in his art (he wanted him to be a banker or a lawyer), but he had a friend named Emil Zola who encouraged him to keep painting.  Emil was a writer so the two friends encouraged each other. 

We looked at examples of Cezanne’s many still life paintings and then set up our own still life to paint from.

I explained that we’d be using our still life for inspiration only and not trying to make everything perfect.  Then, we talked about sketching….  keeping it loose and just filling the page with the basic shapes…. no details and no worrying about it being perfect!  We practiced saying, “Only God is perfect!”  (I have some perfectionists this year, so we’re really working on that!)  

Next, I explained that we’d be painting without water to clean our brushes!  We covered our tables with newspaper and used the newspaper to wipe the extra paint off of our brushes when mixing new colors.  This kept the tempera paint nice and thick and resulted in more interesting colors, since the brushes never got perfectly clean when changing colors.

I also told the students we were playing “Hide the White Paper”, encouraging them not to leave any unpainted areas.  Most importantly, I told them that I’d be walking around and listening for “encouraging words” at their table groups.  It was so sweet to hear the kids encouraging each other as they worked! 

 I love the rich colors and painterly quality of these still life paintings!  These examples are from Kindergarten, but really you could do this lesson at any grade level!

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6 Responses to Cezanne-Inspired Still Life for K and Beyond

  1. Christie - Fine Lines January 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    These are really lovely. I especially like the subtle colors that your Ks were able to mix:))

  2. Hope Hunter Knight February 1, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    beautiful – i love a painterly still life. well done, kids!

  3. Mary February 1, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    These are wonderful! What a great idea to create their art without water. Their palettes are muted and more layered because of it.

  4. TeachArtandCreate February 3, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    The “no water” idea is genius! Easier to clean up and better artwork. I love the still lifes. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations February 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    oh, WOW!! these are great. I homeschool my children and I am now offering a monthly art class to other homeschooling kids. I am no artist or even teacher, but I love it. So we are just having a great time enjoying ourselves and learning together. I am going to be perusing your blog and your ideas for sure!! thank you so much for sharing. :)


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