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Level: Junior, Middle School
Grades: 3-8 | Age: 8-14yrs | Written by: Lillian Arreola
[Lillian is an art educator at Instituto Anglo Británico at Monterrey, N.L. México]

In this lesson, students learn about texture and impasto painting.



image, feeling, emotion, idea, expression, color, texture, three dimensional, two dimensional, line, imagine, create, happy, sad, angry, tempera, experience, design, impasto, easel.

* impasto: \Im*pas"to\, n. This refers to a thick and textured application of paint, (usually oil but sometimes acrylic) where the brush strokes are very visible. The paint is not smooth, but rather rough and tactile.

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. Talk about design. To design something is to plan it out. Review the elements of design.
  2. Explain what impasto means (see above) and talk about some of the artists who used this technique in their artwork (ie: Vincent van Gogh)
  3. Encourage students to look through books or magazines to find inspiration for subject matter. For first attempts, the best rule of thumb is to keep the image simple. Promote the idea of creating an image based on an emotion -- happy, sad, excited, surprised, etc.
  4. To prepare the "impasto", students tear toilet paper into small pieces and mix it in a bowl with white glue. You may have to experiment with quantities to see how much glueand paper you need to create a gooey mixture.
  5. Let the students apply the impasto on their heavy paper and help them to determine which parts will be three dimensional and which ones will be flat.
  6. Let the pieces dry for one or two days.
  7. When dry, the works of art can be painted with tempera paint. Encourage the students to experiment with wild color combinations. Reinforce the idea that there no limits to what they can do.
  8. When dry, you can paste three sticks onto the pieces with a glue gun to simulate an easel as shown in the pictures.
  9. For 5th and 6th graders you can complete this activity with an evaluation rubric where they can aesthetically evaluate their artwork based on the following: emotion expressed, content, technique, etc.

More Information:

Van Gogh Museum§ion=sectie_vincent

Recommended Books/Products:

My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Paint!
Creating with strings, fingers, rollers, straws, and other super techniques: no wonder this entry in Lark's fabulous new art series will have kids saying "I love to paint!"

Painting with Children
Painting with Children contains sections on the "moral effects of color," the experience of colors, preparation, color stories and poems, panting with plant colors, painting the moods and seasons of nature, and much more.

The Science Book of Color
by Neil Ardley
This book explains the principles of color and gives instructions for a variety of simple experiments.

My First Paint Book
by Dawn Sirett
Twenty-two activities, from stenciled boxes to T-shirt designs, are presented along with step-by-step, full-color photographs and clear instructions, in a visual introduction to making and decorating things with paint.

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