Finding Your Feelings Submitted by:Matt Curless, art teacher at St. Henry High School, Kentucky.
This lesson is a great way for students to see the various ways that elements in art can be used to capture a feeling (or "soul") in an artwork. All you need is an overhead with images of various work that you feel represent certain feelings within the viewer (my personal favorites are Munch, Hopper, Picasso, O'Keefe, Freud and Sargent). Go through each slide (or poster), waiting about 20-30 seconds for the students to write down what they feel the painting brings out emotionally - sadness? joy? loneliness? anger?
After the slides are finished, go back to the beginning and have students share what they thought about each slide. Be sure to include what elements are used to bring about these feelings (i.e. pastel colors, sharp shapes, etc.)
I like this lesson because it not only obligates active participation of all, but is popular with students who are afraid of getting the "wrong answer."
Students will write a short report about their discussion. Once the short report is done, the student will then do a picture of their own using the same medium and style of their chosen favorite picture. Students are not to copy, but instead they will only the style and medium of the chosen work.
NOTE: This lesson was submitted in the early days of IAD when teachers had no scanners or digital cameras to take pictures of student work. Image above from Artsonia.