3rd graders have loved learning about Paul Cezanne these past few weeks in our still-life lesson! We started off by reviewing some of Cezanne’s artwork and discussing his impressionistic style. By this point, 3rd graders are already very familiar with impressionism (having learned about Van Gogh and Monet) and are able to create their own loose and visible brushstrokes. As always with this kind of project, we started off by creating a pencil drawing. I encouraged 3rd graders to hold their pencils loosely, as if they were Cezanne holding a paint brush. The shapes of each fruit did not need to be perfectly spherical and the lines do not need to be even. To me, that’s what makes the piece more interesting. 3rd graders overlapped their shapes as they created their compositions.When our drawings were complete, we took a close look at his images and talked about the variety of colors that made up each fruit. Even though Cezanne’s brushtrokes are visible, 3rd graders agreed that the artwork had a realistic look to it. It was almost as if you could reach into the still-life painting and pluck out an apple. Why was that…what was Cezanne’s trick?
3rd graders were quick to realize that the highlights, shadows, and cast shadows were what made the apples appear 3-D. I demonstrated some chalk-blending techniques to blend colors, add shadows, ‘shines’ of light, and cast shadows. I reminded 3rd graders to step into the shoes of Cezanne and use their chalk pastels loosely like a paintbrush, showing traces of color without fulling blending everything in.
Check out some 3rd graders with their finished pieces!