Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cezanne Still Life with Apples

I found this idea on fine lines' blog, and it was really fun (albeit quite messy - bring wipes!) in both first grade and fifth grade.


watercolor paper
red tempera (or acrylic, if you have it) paint
pan watercolors

paper cups for red paint and water
paper plates for tracing

Cezanne background -

Cezanne is considered by many, including Picasso, to be the true father of modern art. On the Metropolitan Museum of Art website there is an amazing, really fun interactive piece on Cezanne and his apples. If you have a smartphone or ipad, I'd recommend bringing the site up on that, and using the ladybug to project it to the kids, using that to guide your discussion (there might be a way to connect your device with a cord, but you can just actually stick your device under the ladybug, turn on the ladybug, and line it up to project the screen, without any cords). Take a minute or two to check it out the Met site here.

Here is the slideshow I used to discuss his work with the kids (although I wish I'd used the Met one instead!). We discussed the paintings using the questions: "What do you see?" "What more can you find?" and "Why?" Some of the things we specifically discussed were how Cezanne's apples are not all plain red, but have lots of different colors and reflections and even shapes. We also discussed shadows. Look at the paintings and notice with the kids how Cezanne represents the shadows of the apples.

At the end of the slideshow, there is a photograph of apples on a plate. This is what we painted, for our still life.


For younger kids, have them use the paper plate to trace a circle on the paper with the sharpie. (Older kids can just draw a large circle). Then, using the thick red tempera or acrylic paint, have them paint their apples. You might want to remind them to leave a bit of white in the apple to represent the reflected light. Then, using their pan watercolors, they can do the tablecloth, the plate, etc. Once the red dries a bit some adventurous kids might even want to layer in some other colors onto the apples. Some kids might also want to add shadows.

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