Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I had 2 different grade levels switch on me this week and I hadn't "quite" finished preparing for the 5th grade lesson I was going to do later in the week, so....

I went through a number of art and design blogs I have bookmarked in the morning, so I could come up with something manageable for me, yet engaging and standards based for the gaggle of big kids that would inhabit my room in a few hours.

I came across the work of French artist Remed. I felt his work was an interesting contemporary take on abstraction of the human form. He works in a language pioneered in the 20th century by Picasso and the like, but in his hands it feels fresh and alive. Plus, he is a muralist and graffiti artist. The graffiti thing always gets the kids interested in what I'm talking about in the front of the room.

His works vary in size from small to monumental, depending on the type of surface and location.

I decided to focus on a few portraits he has done that include a heavy dose of pattern in them. One of the 5th grade standards is to identify and create a strong sense of unity in art. By emphasizing the use of pattern through shape and color, the 5th graders would be able to develop a stronger understanding of this principle of design.

Students had a choice of creating an image based on either the profile or full frontal compositions above. We used chalk pastels on black paper to get the boldness of color that is often found in Remed's work. We outlined the basic shapes with white chalk and then added detail elements with white as well. 

Once the contours where in, students were free to add colors of their choice. I demonstrated the need to keep your drawing hand off the paper to keep the image clean. If you start to drag across the image, things will get out of control quickly. I also showed them the difference between the visual texture of the colors if you blend it in areas and leave it "raw" in others.

I think I will give classes an extra 10 to 15 minutes next week to finish up these images. There are a number of sharp looking ones that I didn't post because they were incomplete.


  1. Thanks for this lesson. I never heard of Remed, but seeing this it's really worth to study him.

  2. D,

    Isn't it a great feeling when you discover an artist(one that's still alive!)that inspires you so much, that you are motivated to create a project for your students based on that artist? I LOVE the examples of your kiddo's work. I look forward to doing some research on Remed.Look up Russ Penhall if you get a chance-very cool landscapes that would inspire your students.

  3. Remed recently got back to me and the kids.


    Thank u so much!!!

    Two days ago, I was talking to 2 friends who work at the Childrens Art museum in NY. I m gonna go there to do that kind of stuff with kids there!!! I hope I could come to San Diego sooner or later too!

    Thank u again!!

    Talk soon!


  4. I love this lesson and the tie between Picasso and the contemporary graffiti artist, Remed. These are awesome. I have been looking through your blog this morning and have been finding a lot of inspiration in your art units, particularly those that really allow many different solutions to an engaging art problem. Wish I had time to comment on many more posts, but just wanted to say I'm glad I found your blog! "Pinned" lots of your lessons, will let you know if I try them with my students!

    Katie Gonzalez, Briargrove Elementary