Grade: Elementary
Subject: Art

#3150. Looking at shapes, colours and patterns in Flowers and Butte

Art, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Dec 15 21:46:55 PST 2005 by Mrs. Mira Sarkar (
Vasant Valley School, New Delhi, India
Materials Required: paint, white glue mostly
Activity Time: Five hours atleast
Concepts Taught: Colors and patterns

Looking at shapes, colours and patterns in Flowers and Butterflies
Class 1

First the students will be made aware of the varied shapes of the butterfly wings and the parts of their bodies. I have a lovely old board with at least twenty butterflies from Korea or Taiwan that was given to me by a student twenty-five years ago. The students will be made aware that in all probability these butterflies are extinct because my generation did not know the effects of buying these kinds of curios.

The students will be provided folded paper of approximate size 9'x6". They will draw the two wings of one side of the butterfly as big as it fits. The shapes and size of the wings will be observed carefully on the board. The folded section of the paper is where will be the body of the butterfly. A number of students will not get this right, but it doesn't really matter.

The method of using scissors as I read in a book will be demonstrated. The scissor is opened wide at the lever point, the blade of the scissor is matched with the line to be cut and only a portion of the blade from the lever point is used for cutting. The paper is moved up to the lever point before pressing on the handle for the cutting action. This method has worked well for me for precise cutting.

Next, the word pattern will be explained on the butterfly wings. Lines, shapes and colours have to be repeated on both wings to create a pattern. Brush pieces of sponge and Styrofoam and the stick with the cotton will be used for patterns. This procedure will be demonstrated to create several wing patterns to help the students to grasp the importance of repeating in a pattern, and to show the varied ways the brush, foam and styrofoam could be used.

On completion of the painting of the wings the students will be provided half sheets of cartridge paper for the drawing of a large flower. The painting of Georgia O'Keefe will be shown to discuss how she observed just a small part of a flower and observed every line, change in colours and shape. Flowers will be provided and its parts will be named.
How to use a pencil held lightly will be stressed for drawing a large flower on the paper. First the central circle will be drawn fee hand. Here again I will stress practice helps. I have observed another thing amongst children, if they draw something wrong they erase the whole image. We artists erase only the section that is not correct, this will be stressed.
Varied petal shapes will be observed pointed, jagged edge, or rounded, single or double petals. The petal shape is then repeated around the circle as a pattern.

For the painting of the petals white paint will be provided to each student. The term pastel colours will be introduced. At this age they are allowed to mix only one colour with the white. This will be painted as strokes on the petal near the circle. For the next row of strokes on the petal a little more of the same colour will be added and it will be explained that some of their colors are still pastel colours while others are not pastel any more. The whole petal will be painted likewise. The circle in the center will have the texture of pollen that will be achieved using the brush, sponge, Styrofoam or the stick with the cotton.

The background will have leaves and the sky. The butterfly body will be made of Styrofoam and painted while the antennas will be toothpicks or pipe cleaners. Lastly the butterfly will be placed as a 3D model on the background flower.

Mira Sarkar
Sunday, April 11, 2004

Photos of student work at: