Activities: Art
The activities provided on these pages are designed to extend the use of this site. These activities are provided as launch points for teachers to use with their classes, and for teachers to modify to suit the needs of their specific classes. Most of the activities are interdisciplinary and should provide lots of room for students (and teachers) to stamp their own identities on them.

The Virtual Museum is designed so that it can be navigated independently by 3rd and 4th graders who have at least some internet experience. Teacher supervision of any internet activity, even this Virtual museum, is always recommended. I hope you enjoy learning about Luther Burbank as much as I did!

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Art Activities

In general, plants of any type are a terrific art focus. Having student create art (sketch, paint, color, collage) that features their favorite flower, fruit, vegetable, or tree is always a great starting point.

Gardens as Visual Art

Cutting Gardens, such as the one at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, are beautiful to look at and enjoy. This type of garden is grown to provide wonderful visual art in the form of flower arrangements. Claude Monet created his gardens in Giverney, France, to serve as models for his paintings. The Cutting Garden section of the Present Tour for the Home and Gardens can serve as a launching point for students to explore the art of Monet and even the art of other Impressionists. The Giverny site is extensive; it has many photos of Monet's Gardens, lists of the plants used to create these gardens, and links to museums which house Monet's paintings. This site is in French, but can be easily changed to English by clicking the flag at the top of the first page.

Monet Art Project

Here's a project that combines the visual of a flower arrangement with that of Monet's soft, Impressionist style. The finished product will be a painting featuring a tempera-paint vase with Impressionist-style flowers. Excluding any pre-teaching about Monet or Cutting Gardens, actual art activity time should be around 45-60 minutes. There are two parts to the activity, a practice session to learn technique, and the final project session. You may decide to break this lesson down into two smaller activities, practice one session, final project the next. This activity has been adapted from the Sonoma County Office of Ed Art Docent Program

Materials needed:

  • Paper Plates (1 per student)
  • Tempera Paints (Recommended colors: green, yellow, red, blue, white. Note: You can use only primary colors and eliminate green if you want to show how to create secondary colors. You'll still need white.)
  • Paintbrushes (1 per student)
  • Water Containers (so that students can rinse brushes at their seats)
  • Paper towels (each student will need several)
  • White construction paper, minimum size: 12" x18" (2 sheets per student). If possible, larger sheets work very well.
  • Optional: Monet posters, vase of flowers

Preparation:

  • Paper Plates(aka, paint palettes): For each student: plate should have 1-2 tbsp. of each selected tempera paint on it.

Management Tips

  • Students will need to rinse brushes frequently, so it's a good idea to have water containers ready.
  • Students will go through a lot of paper towels when practicing and then later, when creating their flowers. It's a good idea to plan some used paper towel pick-ups at several points during the lesson.
  • Hand out only 1 of the sheets of construction paper for the practice session. When the practice session is finished, hand out the 2nd sheet.
  • It's always a good idea for teachers to try this out before actually teaching the activity to the class. It's a fun project for kids or adults!

Part 1: Practice Session

In this part of the activity, students will create and practice with crumpled paper "flower stamps," using 2 colors of their choice per flower.

  1. Students should crumple up a paper towel, creating a fairly flat "bottom." Nooks and crannies are fine; they will create interesting patterns.
  2. Using the brush, student will choose a color and paint part of the "bottom" of their paper "stamp." Rinsing off, they will choose a 2nd color and paint this color on the bottom of the "stamp" as well. The paint should not be too thick.
  3. Now the student are ready to "stamp" their flowers on thier practice sheets of construction paper. Students should keep stamping the colors until the paint is gone from the bottom of the crumpled paper towel. The trick is to not blend the colors, but let the separated colors of the earlier stamping stay bold, while the later stamps will show blended fainter color. This technique gives the "impression" of flowers!
  4. Using additional crumpled paper towels, students can repeat this stamping practice, trying out new color combinations and different "stamp" shapes: rounded, vertical, etc. White is a good 3rd color to add becasue it will increase the shading within the flowers. Remember, brushes need to be rinsed frequently!
  5. When you feel that the students are ready, you can end the practice session. You have two options: you can go directly on to the final project or stop for the day and do the final project in another session.

Part 2: Final Session

In this part of the activity, student will apply their crumpled flower stamping towards the creation of an Impressionist-style vase of flowers.

  1. Students should receive their 2nd sheet of construction paper.
  2. You may want to replenish the colors on the student paper plate paint palettes.
  3. Construction paper should be vertical on students desks.
  4. Using the bottom 3rd of the paper, students should draw a flower vase. It would be a good idea to model this part of the activity. Students may need help figuring out what the bottom 3rd of the paper is. The remaining 2/3rds of the paper will be needed for the flower arrangement.
  5. After the vase is drawn, students should choose a color and paint their vase. Depending upon available time, they may add some designs or decorations to the vase's "surface." These vases should dry before going on to the next step.
  6. Now the students can create their Impressionist-style flower arrangements. Having practiced crumpled paper flower stamping, they should know what they want to do. Remember, the flowers should be stamped until the paint is gone.
  7. Don't forget to add foliage to the flower arrangement!
  8. You, as the teacher, may need to let students know when they are finished.
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