Art Lesson Plan: Painting like the Fauves - Middle School

Exploring Painting With the Fauves

Submitted by: Carolyn Brown, Lynnhaven Middle School, Virginia Beach, Virginia
UNIT: Painting - Fauves
Celebrating Nature: The Landscape
Concept: Changes: From Usual to Unusual!
Theme: Exploring Painting With the Fauves
Grade Level: 8 ( adaptable to most levels)

Pacing: 3 to 4 days


Display a variety of Fauve landscape paintings by Matisse, Derain, and other Fauve artists. Include . (Resource: Scholastic Art: The Fauves, Sept./Oct. 2006)



  • Students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the painting style of the Fauve artists.

  • Understand why the works of Matisse and Derain outraged critics and labeled them as
    "wild beasts".

  • Discuss the non-traditional use of color in Fauve paintings.

  • Explore color mixing, and identify emotion expressed through color.

  • Create a spontaneous landscape painting representing an explosion of color.

  • Paint like the Fauves!



Before a discussion of these works, ask students to "react" to the paintings with descriptive words in their journals. Students can share their writings. Then establish the place in time for the Fauve movement in 20th century painting.


Observe and discuss the style, technique, and color used by Matisse and Derain. Why were there paintings described as unusual and unnatural?



Painting surface (Mat board. scraps in a variety of colors and small sizes), India ink., Brushes.


Book: Fauvism. - Fauvism was an extremely short-lived movement in modern painting, and an extremely important one as well. This book covers the period quite nicely.


Book: The Fauves: The Reign of Colour. - This illustrated book celebrates the work of Matisse, Braque, Dufy, Derain, Vlaminck, Van Dongen, and many other artists who were dubbed "Fauves, " or wild beasts, when their work was first introduced in the early 1900s. 170 color illustrations.


Sketching the Composition

Students will gather ideas for a landscape painting. Students will make thumbnail sketches and choose favorite for composition.


A simple outline sketch the of painting plan will be drawn with brush and ink on mat board or other painting surface. Drawing with ink encourages students to be simplify and loosen up!


Painting: Guided Practice

The Fauve landscape painting is our first painting experience of the year. Spending a day to explore color mixing is important to painting success. I designed a worksheet called "dabble sheet" that walks the kids step by step through color mixing exercises.


We start out playing "paint along with me" as I guide them through simple painting basics. After a short introduction, they are ready to continue on their own. When finished, the kids have explored an arsenal of color mixing and are ready to continue their "color explosion" while painting like the Fauves.

Paint Like the Fauves



Acrylic Paint. (or Tempera Paint.)
Water containers
Landscapes sketched in ink on mat board

The classroom is set up for painting.


These are the simple directions that are read aloud to the students: "You are going to paint like the Fauves. Have fun with color. Painting the green grass and the sky blue would be too ordinary. Be original in your color choice! Be as wild as the "Wild Beasts". Today is your day to have fun and be free with your choice of colors! EXPLORE!" These directions are repeated as they paint.


Students can usually complete a painting in one class period. Offer students the opportunity to create a second painting. It is usually more original, daring, and expressive than the first!

Have class critique. Compare and contrast finished work to that of the Fauves.


ART Assessment

Name: ______________________________________          Bell: ___________






1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.

2. Using knowledge of structures and functions.

3. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.

4. Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

5. Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

Students select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices.

Students generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work.

Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks.

Students know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures.

Students compare multiple purposes for creating works of art.

Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas

Students employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas

Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

Students describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts

Students analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry



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