Bringing Art to Life through Living Paintings: How Could I Help a New Student-Teacher Plan a Memorable Lesson That Would Incorporate Art History and Painting? the Lesson Would Be Taught to a First-Year Drawing and Painting Class. after Several Brainstorming and Planning Sessions, We Decided on a "Living Painting" Lesson

Article excerpt

This idea grew from several of my past lessons which gave students insight into artists and their work. For example, a former student-teacher presented a lesson on Grant Wood while she and our vice-principal dressed as the couple in Wood's American Gothic. Posed in front of a painted background, she presented her lesson while in character. It was my students' enthusiastic reaction to this lesson that inspired the living painting idea. Students would choose and recreate famous paintings with themselves posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the paintings.

Making Creative Choices

I suggested that my student-teacher provide students the freedom to research their own artists and paintings and to decide if they wanted to work alone or in groups. After she introduced the lesson, students were off and working, making their own choices as to how to proceed. As students worked on the large backgrounds in the hallways, the whole school was able to watch our progress. After five days (of ninety-minute blocks), the students were ready to pose for their living paintings.

Posing in the Paintings

For the presentations, we invited our principal and public relations person to help with photography. As students donned their costumes, the level of excitement rose quickly. Everyone was anxious to lend a hand to make sure everything was just right. Each student or group of students was photographed in costume against their respective painted backgrounds, thus creating a photographic record of the living paintings.

Display and Reflection

Our school newspaper featured a story about the living paintings, and photographs were also sent to the local newspaper. …