I created this painting scheme of work with the aim of engaging more boys in KS3 art. The outcomes for the project are less focused on precision and accuracy, but more on expression, emotion and mood. It uses Kandinsky’s artwork as a starting point to explore links between music, colour and feelings, then moves on to focus on composition and layout. I really enjoyed teaching this painting project, mainly because I got to blast music during the lessons!
This art painting project is for Key Stage 3, but in school we teach it in line the the GCSE Art Assessment Objectives: students research an artist (Kandinsky), they create research pages about his work then start experiment painting. First, looking at the use of line, then colours and feelings, then finally composition.
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Students start the project by researching artwork by Kandinsky, watching a clip about him and trying to figure out what he painted:
Once they understand a bit about him, the context he was working in, and how he was trying to paint music (rather than something he could see) we discuss the idea of abstract paintings that do not need to be ‘realistic’.
We then start to look at Kandinsky’s use of line, and students respond by listening to different genres of music and making paintings / drawings (felt tip pen) which focus solely on line (rather than shape).
Students are trying to paint and draw the sounds they can hear!
Students create a series of ‘line’ paintings and drawings to different music, evaluating through peer and self assessment as they go along. Here are some examples from students:
After exploring how line can show different sounds and emotions (energetic, calm, smooth, jagged etc.) we start to think more about how artists use colour in their work to convey emotion.
Again, students respond to this task through painting whilst listening to different styles of music, still thinking about how artists make use of different lines too.
Each stage of the painting project gradually adds more elements for students to think about, making it slightly more challenging as it goes on. At each stage, I have differentiated the outcomes for all ability groups and to ensure all students can make good progress.
I have shared other art projects for teaching colour theory here – enjoy!
After experimenting with different painting techniques (linking to AO2 of the GCSE assessment objectives), students start to refine their work, developing their ideas and making improvements as they go along. This idea of developing and improving their work links to AO3, and I prefer to have students working on a number of different outcomes rather than just one final piece. This takes the pressure off students to ‘get it right’ but also allows them to make changes without being too precious over their paintings.
In order to start finalising their paintings, students start to focus on placement of the shapes in their work and the overall composition.
Throughout the lessons, I still have students completing low-stakes assessments or mini-plenaries (WWW / EBI etc.) to improve their work.
Finally, students will combine all of the elements they have researched and experimented with to create their final piece.
Here are some of the final pieces by students. I teach this with Year 7 but you could change any of the aspects and try it with other year groups if you want to.
I have found this to be a really engaging painting project as students like being able to listen to music in the classroom, and are not too focused on precision and accuracy, which I have found a lot of boys struggle with generally. The painting project also allows students to experiment with different media, using felt-tips to make their work neater, rather than relying on their brushes, which can sometimes be frustrating!
What are your thoughts on the project? Have you taught something similar? Let me know in the comments.