KS3 Art Painting Scheme of Work: Abstract Still Life

I love teaching this Abstract Still Life painting project! I have used this painting scheme of work with lots of different year 8 groups and they have all enjoyed it and made great progress. The outcomes are all different and students like being able to see how they can improve their work each week, even when they tell me their artwork is ‘finished’…

Abstract Still Life Painting Project KS3

Join 2,286 other followers

We start by looking at some different abstract artists, then drawing quick observational sketches to focus on the shape of still life objects. We then move onto pattern and mark-making, then finally colour theory; the colour wheel; contrasting and harmonious colour schemes.


Artist inspiration:
Since the outcomes for this art project will be paintings, we look at a range of abstract still life painters including Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque.

Painting scheme of work still life art lesson
Still Life le Jour
Georges Braque, 1929
still life painting project art lesson resources
Nature Morte

Pablo Picasso, 1945

Students identify different features of abstract painting still life work, including overlapping objects, patterns, positive / negative colour etc. Whilst understanding a little about the history.

art lesson resources painting project

This painting scheme of work is available on TES here OR on TPT here – enjoy!


Observational Drawing:
After their research, students start to create a series of observational drawings (I have shared full observational drawing art projects here)

I teach this by having different sets of still life objects positioned around the room. Students then have a set amount of time to draw the outline of different objects.

I keep the drawing times short – to around 5 minutes per drawing. This is to help students sketch, and only focus on the shape of the outlines. I think this also helps students understand the importance of ‘working drawings’, that can be developed into something else (in this case paintings), rather than creating an accomplished, detailed and fully shaded drawing.

Still life drawings abstract art lessons
Still life drawings
Before and after drawings of still life arrangements.

During their art lessons, students aim to draw the outline of their chosen objects, making them as accurate as possible, overlapping and aiming to fill the space on their page. After their first drawing, students complete a self-assessment and aim to make an improved drawing next.

As they complete more drawings, I make the learning outcomes more difficult, adding things that need to be done on in their work:

art teacher resources painting lesson

I use art starters and plenaries in these painting lessons to look back at the artists’ work and have students identify similarities / differences from their own drawings.


When their series of drawings is complete, I introduce pattern and mark-making. I have lots of lessons around mark-making here.

scheme of learning art lessons painting

I tend to use ink and wash for mark-making techniques as it gives students some experience in using their brush to create detailed areas.

Students then go back to their drawings and develop them by adding a range of patterns and mark-making drawings.

abstract still life art lessons learning resources

This painting scheme of work is available on TES here OR on TPT here – enjoy!

Next we move onto colour theory – building on what they have learned in the previous year – so you may have to adapt this to your groups. There are lots of colour theory art projects here – enjoy!

I try to use the interactive whiteboard as much as possible with entry tasks like this one:

art teacher resources painting project

When students start painting, they paint their names and a 3 way colour scheme onto the back of their work. They should have an understanding of harmonious and complementary colour schemes. Later in the project (when they add fine details) they will use an accent colour.

Some students are happy to paint straight onto their paper, copying their earlier drawings, however I have had some groups that preferred their drawings to be enlarged so they could paint onto them and make their work more accurate.

As students develop their paintings, they add more details and make them more complicated.

Then finally start to add painted highlights / accent colours / patterns and mark making into the different parts of their work.

KS3 painting scheme of work still life

Here are some of the final abstract painted pieces – what do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Join 2,286 other followers

This painting scheme of work is available on TES here OR on TPT here – enjoy!


13 thoughts on “KS3 Art Painting Scheme of Work: Abstract Still Life

  1. Another fool proof lesson. I love the way your lessons are so easily adaptable for SEN students. Please could I have your resources too. Many Thanks.


      1. Love this work, I am a pgce student looking for inspiration for my scheme of works. Can i have a copy of these power points?


  2. Wow! I am planning on doing something like this, would you be open to share your resources with me.
    It will help a lot.


  3. Hi, PGCE student here. Lovely lessons! I am just at the point where my students will have to think of personal outcomes for their still life project. Could I have a copy of your resources? Would be super useful!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s