Creating a Still Life

When Fall begins in Toronto, the pumpkins begin to show. I like the look of the small decorative pumpkins and I knew my students would as well. I bought a few at the grocery store with the intention of doing some sort of activity with them.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Decorative pumpkins. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I decided to introduce them to the concept of Still Life. I showed them some of the paintings created by the Masters, and some that had been created by modern artists. I then asked them to create their own Still Life of the pumpkins using the medium of coloured pencils.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
A gallery of pencilled Still Lifes. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

After this exercise, I helped the children to create the Success Criteria for the next part of the activity. These are the criteria that they came up with after looking at the gallery of drawings:

  • I colour in between the lines.
  • I use sharpened pencils.
  • I am satisfied with my drawing.
  • I take my time.
  • I do not scribble.
  • I use different colours.

The next step in the Still Life activity was for the children to re-create their own Still Life using the medium of oil pastels. An improvement was seen in the drawings as the children focused on the criteria that would make their work successful.

Once their work was done, I had an one-on-one consultation with each child to discuss their success with the task. The children took note of two of the things they done successfully – and one thing they could do to improve the product of their work. I scribed for them and pasted the result of our discussion at the back of their work for their parents to read.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Self Assessment. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Then the real fun began: the painting of their Still Life.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Painting a Still Life. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The result is an array of beautiful, well thought out paintings that the children are proud of.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Still Life paintings. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The bulletin board outside my classroom now shows the children’s progress through the Still Life activity. Some examples of student’s work is displayed for the parents to look at.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Still Life bulletin board. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The completed works of art will be placed in each child’s portfolio which will be sent home at the end of the year for both the children and parents to admire for many years.

Do you create Still Life paintings?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

This post is linked to Paula’s Thursday’s Special Challenge. This week the prompt is: multicoloured)

26 thoughts on “Creating a Still Life

  1. You’ve got some great artists in the making there Colline and with such a great teacher it’s easy to do. I can see they had so much fun. 😀

    I sometimes think of creating ‘Still Life’ photography, but it’s lots of work setting up everything. I think I’ll rather go and draw something with you and your kids. 😀 ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nope, but I do create still life photographs – a few times per year 🙂 I used to have pumpkins like the ones in your classroom 🙂 Thank you, Colline. This is a special post for a special day. Talk soon xx


    1. I forgot to mention that we had done some practice painting with water colour before this activity. As a result, the were using he right amount of paint with water – and they were in the habit of cleaning their brush before changing colour.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. An involved exercise Colline, what a lot of thought you put into it all .
    I like the line … ‘Then the real fun began …. ‘ I bet it did … and their paintings are colourful and lively too .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the paintings the children did – so bright and cheerful. Once again you seem to have created a lesson that has inspired both creativity and their imagination. As to your question – I think still life photos and paintings work best when the objects are purposely positioned.


  5. Beautiful idea Colline, there is always creativity in your ideas, ideas that the children love and embrace, which forms their constructive imaginations.
    Well done and great results.


  6. Colline, I love how you and your students have so much fun while learning. They are very fortunate children.
    When my children brought things home that they had made in school, we chose something they were really proud of and framed it and hung it in our entry hall. I loved looking at their “mini” art gallery.

    Liked by 1 person

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