Saturday, November 2, 2013

Klee's Cat and Bird

Second Grade Art Lesson
2 Class Periods

Klee's Cat and Bird, Second Grade Art Lesson

About the Artist:
Paul Klee was born in Switzerland in 1879.  He learned how to play the violin by the age of 6.  Paul's parents thought he would become a famous musician. 

Paul, however, became an artist.  His paintings have a strong sense of color and rhythm.  Paul did not believe he was the best drawer or painter in the world, but he loved creating and took the advice of colleagues as he saw fit.

Artist Paul Klee

Klee was fascinated with how children drew and painted.  His overall goal was to capture the care free and imaginative drawing style of that of a child.    Paul created over 10,000 paintings and drawings during his life.  He died in 1879 at the age of 61.

Paul's Klee Cat and Bird painting is the inspiraton for our lesson.

Cat and Bird by Paul Klee.

Day 1:
Students viewed a power point presentation on artist Paul Klee.  We discussed a brief biography and examined numerous pieces of his artwork.  Students learned that many critics couldn't decide if Klee was a Surrealist (paintings that are dream-like), Expressionist (paintngs that show emotion) or Cubist (paintings that concentrate on geometric shapes and multiple viewpoints) painter.  Students were asked to think about these art styles and what style they personally felt best described Klee's art.

Through follow along demonstation students completed a cat and bird drawing inspired by Paul Klee's famous Cat and Bird painting.

Next we used oil pastels to color in various parts of the drawing.  We experimented with the value ranges by the amount of pressure applied to the oil pastel as well as blending techniques.

The concept of complementary colors were discussed and used as a main strategy to create unity within the composition.  In our powerpoint composition we discussed how Paul Klee's art showed unity and rhythm by his use of color and repeated pattern.

The last step for the day was to outline the piece with a black oil pastel.

Day 2:
Steps from the previous class period were reviewed.

Students were shown tips on creating value ranges with the tempera paints and how the oil pastels created a resist for the paint.  Students were allowed to paint their compositions in any color combinations that they wished.
Student painting composition.

Student Examples:


  1. Lovely lesson, and good intro.
    :) Elizabeth

  2. Thank you !! I'm a French teacher and I use your blog to find new ideas for my class. Your ideas are brilliant.