Thursday, February 2, 2012

Art History Snowmen Bulletin Board

This is the only snow we've seen in my part of Kansas since we got maybe an inch back in December. I'm not particularly a fan of being cold, but it would be nice to have one nice, pretty snow this winter!
If I had unlimited time with my students, I would have had the older kids research an artist or movement, then create a snowman (snowperson) inspired by the Art History they learned about. Because I only see my older students for 40 minutes, every other week, when they don't miss due to holidays, conferences, breaks, etc., I knew they would not have time to do the project the way I would want. So, I changed the idea from a student project into a bulletin board. I spent a bit of time brainstorming artists whose paintings gave me ideas for snow people. Some flopped, some turned out ok and made it onto the bulletin board.

I didn't talk to the students about the bulletin board, or even really encourage them to guess. I just thought it might spark interest. It would have been more successful as a learning tool if we had covered the artists who inspired the snowmen. I heard some students saying it was "cool" as I was hanging the bulletin board but I don't know if they ever had a chance to stop and read it. I did have several teachers trying to guess, so that was fun! One told me she saw an art reproduction puzzle at a toy store and it helped her figure out a snowman. Another said she should see if her daughter could put her experience in Art History classes to use to figure it out.

By the way, it's harder than you might think to design somewhat recognizable Art History snowmen! 

Some, I thought of right away. Like this guy, inspired by Magritte's The Son of Man (though the "Man" has a face in his painting). 

 The Mondrian snowman was an early idea as well.

 My Picasso snowman started to get a little tricky. Why? Cubism doesn't usually keep clearly defined edges of painted objects and I needed to be able to cut out my snowman. So this painting was my inspiration. I tried showing the nose from two different angles and incorporating patterns like in Picasso's painting.

My Keith Haring snowman was pretty easy. You can kind of tell from the photo that I used clear tape to hold the lines next to the snowman without being attached by paper.

 And this guy is inspired by Matisse's cut paper artwork. It was hard because I figured the snow should probably still be white! I tried to layer organic shapes but nobody really "got" this one.

I have little notes written to myself with ideas for next year. I may try it at my other school where we have Art twice as often and have more time for Art History.


  1. Thanks for sharing this snowman series. It made me smile. A wonderful connection to art history.

  2. Very cute! And WAY better than any bulletin board I remember seeing in grade school. :) My favorite is the Picasso snowman.

  3. Hi, Katie.......Once again I have posted a link to your blog on my bulletin board blog. Let me know if you disapprove. You are so clever with these boards! jan

  4. I love this project. Really creative.

  5. I love this! I used to have a t-shirt with smiley faces in different artists' styles. I think the Haring one is my favorite. Thanks for sharing!