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ART IMAGE PUBLICATIONS SAMPLE LESSON
EARLY YEARS: PETS ARE PART OF OUR LIVES
Teacher’s Guide by: Christine Thompson
Activity one: PAUL GAUGUIN, Les trois petits chiens (Still Life with Three Puppies)
GAUGUIN, Paul, Still Life with Three Puppies (Catalog #1.11) - work is in the collection of Museum of Modern Art, New York
Offer interpretations of the situation presented in this painting by creating stories about what happened and after the moment depicted.
Increase their sensitivity to the composition of the painting by physically recreating the scene.
Light and dark pattern
Relational concepts: above, below, in front, behind, far, close, top, bottom
Reproduction of Gauguin's Poster Print of Still Life with Three Puppies
Low table - white (or patterned) table cloth - napkin
Saucepan - Bowl - Three goblets
Three apples - Seven pears
Small stuffed or plastic animals
Gather the household objects needed to recreate the composition of the painting. (Apples and pears can be used for snacks later in the day.) Optional - have children bring in their own objects for still life.
THINGS TO TALK ABOUT
Gather children in small groups, perhaps of three or four, to talk about the reproduction:
What’s happening in this painting?
Where do you think the puppies are? On the floor? On the table?
What will happen when the person who left that pan of milk on the table returns to find these puppies lapping it up?
Invite children to set the table with materials resembling those shown in the reproduction. As you help children make decisions about the placement of each item, call attention to relevant details and relationships in the reproduction: which objects are close to others, which are behind or in front of, above or below other objects?
Encourage children to act out the story of the three puppies, using stuffed animals or plastic toys as stand-ins for the puppies.
THINGS TO DO
Ask children to recall times when their pets (or animals they know) got into trouble. What did they do? Who got angry? Why? Invite children to draw or dictate stories based on these incidents.
MORE THINGS TO DO
PRINT A CLOTH FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION
Ask children to look carefully at the tablecloth design in Gauguin’s painting. Provide a paper tablecloth or large sheet of bulletin board paper in white or a solid pastel color. Gather fresh leaves with interesting shapes, or other objects for stamp printing. Provide containers of Tempera Paint in pastel colors, paper towels, and Brushes. Demonstrate how to lay the leaf, vein side up, on a paper towel, and how to apply paint with a brush and then transfer the painted leaf to the paper. Provide additional paper towels to place over the leaf as it is pressed to the paper.
Draw children’s attention to light and dark areas in Gauguin’s painting. Provide black and white tempera paint at easels or painting centers. Encourage children to discover what happens when they mix colors on black or white paper.
PROVIDE CLAY AND CONTAINERS
Stock a table for exploration of clay foods and vessels. Provide Versa Clay (If you have a Kiln), Model Magic or Air-Dry Clay, plastic knives and forks, and durable plates and bowls. Suggest that children make bowls, fruit, or other foods if they are interested in doing so. Salvage wrappings from fast food, and place your order for French fries, hamburgers, or desserts. The printed tablecloth children created in an earlier activity could be used as a setting for display of a feast made of clay. Older children might sketch this still life, adding people, animals, flowers, and so on.
HAVE PET DAY SHOW AND TELL
Students could bring in their own pet for show and tell. Children tell stories about their own pets. Record them - then write into a class book. Children would illustrate their story. Students could draw the animals from life. Rabbits make good models fro life drawing.
Look in any art history book for more images with pets.
Art Image Early Years Kit (more images with pets) - Art Image Publications
Books to share with children
Day, Alexandra (1989). Carl Goes Shopping. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Day, Alexandra (1985). You're A Good Dog, Carl. San Marcos, CA: Green Tiger Press.
Keats, Ezra Jack (1964). Whistle for Willie. New York: Viking Penguin.
Mayer, Mercer (1987). A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog. New York: Dial.
Wolff, Ashley (1990). Come with Me. New York: Dutton.
Call Rachel Ross, Art Education Consultant, at 1 800 361-2598 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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