Aboriginal Painting Lesson

Coming up with an Aboriginal Painting lesson is not as easy as I thought it would be….most ideas feel too complex or too simplistic. This one falls right in the middle.

1. I start with giving the children sheets of “drawing aids”; illustrations of typical aboriginal icons. Have the students pick one and draw it on a sheet of 6″ x 9″ paper in black pen, encouraging the drawings to be as large as the paper.

2. Draw pattern for background. On a piece of 15″ x 12″ paper, the kids draw a simple background with lines and connecting shapes.

(End of first class)

3. Set out Aboriginal paint colors. I mix the tempera paints to create colors typical of aboriginal paintings. Using small bushes, the students paint the back ground and the small icon. This is left to dry.

(end of second class)

4. The students cut out their painted icon and begin to add patterns: tiny dots, stripes, zig-zags to create a true aboriginal look. The paint must be dry in order for the patterns to be clear.
The cut-out, painted icon is attached to the background using 3-D dots.

This is a detailed, but impressive project. I used this lesson for fourth graders but it would be even better for fifth and sixth graders.

The artwork shown here was created by the third and fourth grade students in Mrs. Gallo’s class at Mountain View.


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