Sunday, January 24, 2010

Everyone Knows Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

The saying "money doesn't grow on trees" and Gustav Klimt's Cartoon for the frieze of the Villa Stoclet in Brussels: central  part of the tree of life. 1905-1909 were the inspiration for this lesson. I thought that this would be a good way to find out what my students were interested in and give them some choices while still having structure.
The students discussed Austrian artist Gustav Klimt's "Tree of Life". Klimt was very interested in creating patterns and visual texture using shape. We discussed how the tree was abstracted and stylized with the lines of the branches forming spirals. I also showed the students "the Kiss" and a couple other paintings of trees but I left it at that since it is not uncommon to find nudity in Klimt's artwork. When discussing the artwork, I asked for initial reactions and then we went through each of the elements of art. I have the poster series posted on one of the classroom walls so we just covered one at a time. My students are still getting used to critiquing art but they did pretty good with the structure of each element. I reminded them of what each element means and then called on random students to try and describe how each was used by the artist.
First, the students drew a stylized tree with something unusual growing on it- something that THEY wish would grow on trees. The thing growing on trees could be a real object or an idea. "Love" was a popular choice with the girls and I think the most common choice with the boys was video games. Next, the students traced over all of their pencil lines with crayon and finally, watercolor paint was applied to create a wax-resist painting.
My SMART goal this year is basically about color theory so I decided instead of just painting trees, I also wanted to teach the students about warm and cool colors. Either warm or cool colors were chosen for crayon and the opposite was used to paint creating more contrast.


  1. Wow! They all came out beautiful
    The warm and cold color idea guarantees success.

  2. Thanks, the students seemed to enjoy the project!