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Level: Junior, Middle School, High School
Grades: 3 and up | Age: 8 and up | Written by: Andrea Mulder-Slater
[Andrea is one of the creators of]

Students will look at several different images through a viewfinder. They will then create a painting made up of all the parts that they have viewed.

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. First gather a number of photographs of artwork as well as postcards, art magazines, art books etc. I always keep a large box of small pictures that I cut out of magazines which I can use for such lessons.
  2. Each student should have a chance to choose a few of the images that appeal to them.
  3. Next, each student should create a "viewfinder" which is essentially 2 L-shaped pieces of paper cut from the typing paper.
  4. These L-shaped pieces of paper can be arranged to make a "viewfinder"
  5. The "viewfinder" can be placed on a magazine picture in different ways so that different parts of the picture come into view. For example, if you have the viewfinder on a picture of a house, you could move it over the window, the door or the chimney ...
  6. Next, each student should divide his or her large poster paper into several sections. A ruler is not required -- freehand lines are all you need.
  7. Then, after placing the viewfinder on a section of a cut-out picture, each student can begin to draw what they see through their viewfinder on one of the spaces they created on their poster paper.
  8. After one section has been drawn, another can be drawn from a different cut-out picture or a different section of the same cut-out picture ... and so on until the paper is full.
  9. Finally, the sections that have been drawn on the poster paper can be painted based on the original colors seen in the cut-out pictures.
  10. After the paintings are complete, have a class discussion and talk about why each student chose the pictures they did. Was it because they liked the colors? the lines? the subject matter? Also discuss whether or not there were any difficulties completing this lesson. What were the difficulties? Why did they happen? What could be done differently next time?

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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