Visual Arts: Painting with Unusual Objects

Lesson Plan: Painting with Unusual Objects
Grade level: 1
Duration: 2 class periods
Media Type: tempera paint
Subject Integration: Science
National Standards for Visual Arts: (see below)
Objectives: To create a painting inspired by artist Georgia O’Keeffe and to use unusual objects while painting.

(website for help with writing rubrics)


4 - Standards are exceeded
3 - Standards are met
2 - Standards may be met at a very low quality or with some exceptions
1 - Standards are not met

Vocabulary (elements/principles):

  • color
  • shape
  • line
  • texture
  • balance
  • unity
  • proportion
  • form
  • value
  • space
  • contrast
  • emphasis
  • movement
  • pattern
  • rhythm

Materials and Procedure:

Day 1:
Introduce artwork by Georgia O’Keeffe (flowers) and Duluth artist Karen Savage-Blue. Compare and contrast their work and technique. Show PlayList video about Karen Savage-Blue. Start a discussion: “What do you see?” “How does their work make you feel?” “What do you know about Georgia O’Keeffe?” Identify any pre-knowledge of her work. If time allows, a brief discussion about Georgia’s other work, such as her barn and cityscape paintings, could prove to be interesting for students. Discuss Karen’s technique of using a palette knife while she paints.

Demonstrate to students how to use a fork, knife, and spoon to create flowers with tempera paint. A regular paint brush can be used for stems of flowers, however, cutlery makes great tools for creating flowers, similar to an artist’s palette knife. Amazing shapes and lines can be made to create flowers with unusual objects.

Give each student a large piece of paper, a plate of tempera paint, and some unusual tools to paint with. They will enjoy this technique immensely!

Day 2:
When the flower paintings are completely dry, have students color the negative space, or background, with crayons or oil pastels. The finished work is bright and cheerful. Review techniques and artists with a closing discussion. Ask students, “Which tool did you like to use most? Why?”


Karen Savage-Blue website:


National Standards for Visual Arts:

VA:Cr1.1.1a - I can engage collaboratively in exploration and imaginative play with materials
VA:Cr1.2.1a - I can use observation and investigation in preparation for making a work of art.
VA:Cr2.1.1a - I can explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design.
VA:Cr2.2.1a - I can demonstrate safe and proper procedures for using materials, tools, and equipment while making art.
VA:Cr3.1.1a - I can use art vocabulary to describe choices while creating art.
VA:Re.7.2.1a - I can compare images that represent the same subject.
VA:Cn11.1.1a - I can understand that people from different places and times have made art for a variety of reasons.

National Visual Arts Standards link:

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

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