What visual artists do you introduce to students?

My teaching of visual arts previously focused on one artist such as Picasso, Monet, or Van Gogh. I realised that I was presenting a narrow view of  arts. So, instead I focused on four artists, with very different styles: Joan Mitchell, Katsushika Hokusai, Margaret Preston, and Claude Monet. 

This was highly successful, with students particularly enjoying producing abstract art.

Hook/Stimulus- What is art? 

Click here for more resources regarding art hooks/stimulus.


How art has changed…

  • How has art changed?
  • What do you notice about the different styles of art?

Pictures for art timeline

Students can work with a partner to order these pictures in the order they think the artworks were created. Students can then look at the artwork timelines websites and reflect/compare their predicted art timeline with the ones on the websites.

Art timeline


Joan Mitchell: Focus on the abstract expressionist style

About Joan Mitchell:

Videos introducing abstract art techniques:

Student Focus: As a class, we watched the above videos of artists painting in the abstract style. I gave students paint brushes, plastic knives, cotton balls and paper to use to spread paint- students could select the materials they used. The focus was on being expressive.

student sample

Katsushika Hokusai: Focus on the style of Japanese art (pure, bright colour and images in their simplest form)

About Hokusai:

Student focus: creating a landscape in its simplest form, painting with ‘flat’ colour, only adding back or white to colours (not mixing colours).

student sample

Margaret Preston: Focus on still life art, influenced by Chinese and Aboriginal art

About Margaret Preston:

Critical thinking opportunity: Did Margaret Preston understand the meaning of the Aboriginal images and symbols she was using? Was she respectful of Aboriginal art?

Student focus: Students had experience creating still life artwork, including drawing:

  • flowers: plastic flowers bought from a ‘cheap’ shop or real flowers
  • bowls of fruit: each table group had a plastic bowl with three pieces of fruit
  • tea cup and saucer: ‘old fashioned’ looking tea cups bought from a second hand shop.

Extension: students could have experience creating still life artwork in a different style, eg. cubist

Student Focus: cubist, angular, non-realistic shapes of fruit. Option: students could use one continuous line, from one side of the page to the other to divide the composition into sections.

Monet: Impressionist brush stroke technique

About Monet:

Introducing impressionist techniques:

Student focus: As a class, students watched the videos introducing the impressionist technique. Students then created landscape paintings with a focus on using short brushstrokes, building up and mixing the colour on the page, not having ‘flat’ colour.

student sample


Introducing Art Vocabulary 

Blog 2

Copy of art vocabulary with pictures


Introducing students to a range of art styles and techniques: 

Large-scale art installations

Yayoi Kusama https://www.tate.org.uk/kids/explore/who-is/who-yayoi-kusama

Chiharu Shiota http://www.chiharu-shiota.com/en/

Art & Technology 


Paris Digital Art Museum 


Drawing cities from memory 


Click here for examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.


Click here for a range of artworks for students to respond to.


Other Resources:

Art Theory Test

How to look at art by the Art Gallery of South Australia

Why look at art?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s