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Hundertwasser Inspired Art Lessons

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line. Hundertwasser is best known for his use of “bright, dark colors” and organic lines, including hi shamus spiral shapes.  For many of my fifth grade students, learning about and creating their own “Hundertwasser” inspired art was the best ever lesson. Combining a lesson in warm and cool colors, patterns and lines, composition and flow, these two lessons have it all.

I picked up the book by Harvesting Dreams: Hundertwasser for Kids by Barbara Stieff and was absolutely thrilled. Inspiring text, interesting graphics plus the combination of Hundertwasser’s art creates a visually, dynamic book. The story is a creative journey into Hundertwasser’s passion for art. I read parts of the book to my class and they were riveted. Amazing book.

Painting with Warm and Cool Paints

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line.

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line.

To begin, I spoke about Hundertwasser’s love for lines and color, especially dark brights. On two pieces of white 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper, kids painted strips of warms colors (red, pink, orange and yellow) and cool colors (purple, blues, greens) on the other. Painting thick and thin horizontal lines, students used combinations of the colors to create new colors. As the paint dried, I showed the kids how to repaint over the dry areas and then, while the paint is still wet, scrape off some patterns with the wooden end of their brushes. The dried paint underneath peeks through.

Cutting the Paper into Strips and Circles

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line. After the paintings are dry (the second class session), the students need to make a decision: should the background be warm or cool? Whatever they decide, take either the cool patterns or warm patterns and divide into strips. If the student chose the cool colors, hand him a blue sheet of paper to glue the strips to. If the student selected the warm tones, hand him a pink sheet of paper. Glue strips onto a cool sheet of solid color paper.

Adding Lines and Patterns

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line. For an extra “Hundertwasser” touch, use colored markers to add line and pattern details. Some kids really got into this. I mean, really. Their efforts had to be curtailed as they would never have completed the project. I told them they could add more line details when the pieces were all glued down. Now everyone was happy.

Creating the flowers

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line. Now comes the messy and colorful part: making the flowers. The students used whatever sheet of painted paper they didn’t use for the background to make the flowers. I set out a variety of plastic containers and lids. Kids could use the varying sizes to cut out circles but many chose to draw their own circles. Either way is fine: the latter being more organic and the former being a bit more structured. Its fun to see what the students chose to do.

Make stems by cutting strips of paper and glue everything down with white school glue. It’s sometimes helpful to place some heavy books on the dried stack so that everything lays flat.

Fifth Grade Hundertwasser Inspired Art!

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line. Student galleryThis is what the Hundertwassers look like on my art wall (mixed with a few Kindergarten owls!)

Hundertwasser art project for kids that teaches warm and cool colors plus pattern and line. Student gallery


Hundertwasser watercolor artHere is an easy art project that takes minutes to complete. After studying Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and creating the above collage, some of my fifth grade students finished early. Instead of doing random free-choice art, I handed them a small piece of watercolor paper (9″ x 12″), some colored waterproof markers and a pan of watercolor paints. If you don’t have watercolor paper, don’t worry. Use regular drawing paper.

Hundertwasser for kidsI didn’t offer a formal set of instruction since we just covered Hundertwasser the week prior. But I did suggest they draw what inspired them the most about Hundertwasser’s art. Students didn’t need any more than that to start their drawings.

I love these quick bursts of creative expression…

For a full lesson tutorial with handouts, check out 50-Minute Art Lessons

 

    34 Comments

  1. So incredibly beautiful! You are an amazing art teacher!

    Pat Stevens

    October 18, 2011

  2. Rockin the House! Totally Beautiful! Keep on painting Buddy!!!
    I am borrowing project! Thanks Great post!

    Laura

    October 18, 2011

  3. I love how these turned out – we may have to do this, too! Thanks for sharing.

    K-Sue

    October 18, 2011

  4. beautiful…love the colors, so inspiring! thanks for sharing :]

    lisajp

    October 18, 2011

  5. Love Hundertwasser and this project is awesome, gonna try it with my two homeschooled boys. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Viv

    October 19, 2011

  6. Absolutely gorgeous and very inspiring!

    Jude

    October 19, 2011

  7. This is a great lesson! I would love to read about your kinder owls too! Will you be posting it?

    Tara

    October 19, 2011

  8. I also would be interested in the kinder owl lesson!

    Eina

    October 19, 2011

  9. Awesome activity!!

    Cheryl Hancock

    October 19, 2011

  10. Love your site! I’ve used some of your lessons and absolutely love them! Keep up the great work!

    Connie

    October 23, 2011

  11. I love this!! Great idea. 🙂

    Erin

    October 23, 2011

  12. Love these! I have a tutorial for newspaper flowers which have the same feel as the flowers here. I love how your paintings turned out and those owls are super cute!

    Brooke (Siayla)

    October 24, 2011

  13. You are so smart! I love that book, and did a different lesson after sharing it with my students. However, I would like to try this one. You’re right: so much good teaching in a lesson that creates wonderful results accessible to all. Bravo!

    Lucy Ames

    November 4, 2011

  14. How big was the paper you used for the final product? These look amazing!

    Christine

    November 7, 2011

    • Hi Christine…just 12″ x 18″. Does it look bigger? Such a FUN project. I hope you give it a try.

      Patty

      November 7, 2011

  15. I moved to the country to work on a book project and to grown my own food, unfortunately the school here does not have art. I am using your lessons as the basis for making sure my son still gets the benefits of art instruction. We watched a video on Hundertwasser and just completed the first step of this project- Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talent:)

    Shannon Johnson

    August 27, 2012

  16. I would love to do this project with my 3rd and 4th graders. Do you think they would manage? Or are they too young? I don´t want to overwhelm them.
    At the moment there is a big Hundertwasser exhibition on here, in Bremen Germany. So I thought I must use this opportunity. Thanks for any feedback!

    Kate

    November 16, 2012

  17. I would love to do this project with my 3rd and 4th graders. Do you think they would manage? Or are they too young? I don´t want to overwhelm them. You say it´s for 5th graders.
    At the moment there is a big Hundertwasser exhibition on here, in Bremen Germany. So I thought I must use this opportunity. Thanks for any feedback!

    Kate

    November 16, 2012

    • lucky you, Kate! I wouldn’t think this lesson was too difficult at all. Break it down into manageable peices and you’ll be fine. The only section that requires a little finesse is the pen lines. You might neede to go over line and pattern with a bit more detail with the younger groups.

      Patty Palmer

      November 16, 2012

  18. Those are so bright and colorful. How long did the whole thing take? I would love to do this project with my students. i recently did another hundertwasser project and they loved it! thanks for all the great ideas! Here are some pics of my hunderwasser. Hundertwasser

    Edna Lemm

    February 15, 2013

  19. I am a parent volunteer who teaches “fill-in” art lessons to supplement every-other-month art lessons taught by the district art teacher. I used this lesson with a mixed class of 4th and 5th graders. The finished artwork was wonderful, each one was unique and beautiful and the kids really seemed proud of their work. The lessons I learned were: (1) Definitely allow two sessions for this, since the cool color and warm color sheets need to dry before you can cut them up, (2) Use manageable size paper – I used really giant sheets that were in the art room; I should have cut them down. Thanks for the great idea, Deep Space Sparkle!

    Krista G

    February 20, 2013

  20. Oh I just love flowers! Thank you very much

    Annie

    May 12, 2013

  21. I was looking for a great art project for my Cub Scouts–something besides just painting, where they would LEARN a concept. This is it!!! Thank you! Your website is incredible, and I am so inspired!! Thanx for all your time and work to provide great lesson plans to those of us, who may not be so art-minded.

    angee

    July 10, 2013

  22. LOVED this art lesson! I did it with my grade 3’s and they did a great job! Their work was so fun and colourful. It was a wonderful lesson on warm & cool colours and line! I especially loved how long this lesson took! I’m moving into my 5th 50 minute art class and we’re still just making squiggles with the back of our paint brush. It should take at least 4 more classes to finish! Great lesson during report card writing time!

    Patricia MacGillivray

    January 17, 2014

  23. Thankyou so much Patti. I have just completed this activity with a group of 24 eight year old children and it was a wonderful success. We live in the North Island of New Zealand and so began the study by introducing Hundertwasser’s toilet constructed at Kawakawa. Everyone stops there to admire his work and there are great images on the net. The children were so proud of their lollipop trees.
    xxJude

    Jude Hateley

    March 19, 2014

    • Wonderful! I love Hundertwasser’s work, too. So glad the kids were happy and proud of their work.

      Patty Palmer

      March 24, 2014

  24. Hermosos trabajos muy coloridos!!! felicitaciones!!! Ana

    ana

    June 28, 2014

  25. Hi, I am a Teaching Assistant in a Primary School in England. I used this lesson as inspiration and adapted it to make some wonderful Hundertwasser underwater scenes with my Year 2’s (6/7 years). We used cool blues and greens for the water and warm colours to make fish and shells. We used up the rest of the painted paper to make sails for the boats on our torn paper sea side collages at a later date. Thank you I enjoy looking at all your projects.

    Grace Barritt

    July 23, 2015

  26. Hi Patty, I have decided to focus on colour as our summer (I am in Australia) art focus and I would like to download and print out this lesson for my binder. Do you have a pdf version of the Hundertwasser painted paper flowers lesson? Thank you 🙂

    Caroline

    January 1, 2016

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