Oil Pastel Houses Inspired by Marc Chagall

Oil pastel houses with floating fishStu­dents enjoy cre­at­ing these quirky street-scapes inspired by Russ­ian artist, Marc Cha­gall.  There’s just some­thing really fun about crooked build­ings and ran­dom things fly­ing through the air!



  1. Talk about the life and art of Marc Cha­gall and show exam­ples of his paint­ings. Note the bright col­ors, dream­like qual­ity, unique sense of per­spec­tive and occa­sional float­ing peo­ple and objects! Find exam­ples of the influ­ence of var­i­ous art styles and move­ments in his paintings.
  2. Using the pink eraser on the end of your pen­cil, sketch the basic ele­ments of your com­po­si­tion. Begin with a curv­ing line that goes across your paper horizontally.
  3. Add houses on this line, using sim­ple geo­met­ric shapes, but no rulers! Add a few sim­ple bush and tree shapes. Add some­thing float­ing in the sky, if you like!
  4. Next, use a white oil pas­tel to lightly trace over your eraser lines.
  5. Now fill in your paint­ing with at least two lay­ers of color every­where. Don’t use any black yet.… we’re sav­ing that for last! Try lay­er­ing with white to brighten an area.
  6. Make sure your entire paper is cov­ered with at least two lay­ers of color. Then out­line each sep­a­rate shape with black oil pas­tel. (Have stu­dents raise their hand to get per­mis­sion to out­line — check to see that they’ve used at least two lay­ers of color everywhere.)
  7. Sign your name with black oil pas­tel in the lower right corner.
  8. After col­lect­ing art­work and sup­plies, give each stu­dent a “wet wipe”, remind­ing them to clean their hands first and then their desk.

While stu­dents are working.…

  • Ask stu­dents to com­pare work­ing from their mem­ory or imag­i­na­tion to look­ing at their sub­ject as they draw it. Which way do they pre­fer? Is one way more dif­fi­cult than the other? Why?
  • Ask stu­dents which col­ors they lay­ered to achieve their favorite areas of color. Share color “recipes”!

Marc Cha­gall (1887–1985) was one of the most suc­cess­ful artists of the 20th cen­tury.  He was asso­ci­ated with sev­eral dif­fer­ent art move­ments, includ­ing Cubism, Sym­bol­ism, Fau­vism, Expres­sion­ism, and Sur­re­al­ism, but he iden­ti­fied most closely with his Jew­ish her­itage.  His faith in God played a huge role in his art. He was known for his dream­like com­po­si­tions, pre­fer­ring to work from his imag­i­na­tion and mem­ory, rather than from nature or from life. Cha­gall was suc­cess­ful in many artis­tic ven­tures, includ­ing paint­ing, book illus­tra­tion, stained glass, stage set design, ceram­ics, tapes­tries and fine art prints. Cha­gall enjoyed both fame and for­tune in his lifetime.

Oil pastel houses with floating dog chasing cat

Visit Teach Kids Art on Face­book for more exam­ples of Chagall-inspired houses!


2 Responses to Oil Pastel Houses Inspired by Marc Chagall

  1. julie March 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    These are so fun!! Can’t wait to try! Thanks for your won­der­ful and idea-loaded site.…lots to bookmark.


  1. Art! | Room 8 Gracefield School - April 7, 2013

    […] week we started an art project. We got our inspi­ra­tion from an unit done by an art teacher in the USA. The artist she was inspired by was called Marc […]

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