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 […]