Lesson #5: Adding Details

Part of the unit: Discoveries in Paint |


How do details give us a sense of place?
Students will be able to:
Identify details in paintings and photographs
Use thin brushes to add details
Students will understand that:
Artists observe and interpret their world.
Details add specificity to the narrative picture.
Student paintings, red, yellow, blue, black and white tempera paint, water cans, sponges, a variety of thin brushes
Digital phots taken during the neighborhood walk
Display the page from Tar Beach with the text, "Tonight we're going up to Tar Beach."
  • What small details do you see in the scene that make it interesting?
Distribute a digital photo from the neighborhood walk to each table of four students.  The teacher should conduct an "I Spy" game in which students identify details. Students should be directed to look for details on the ground, on the buildings, and in the sky. Chart responses.
  • Why should we include details in our paintings?
Show the class several brushes ranging from large to small.
  • Which brush do you think is best for adding small details to your paintings? Why?
The teacher will show the class the demonstration painting from the previous lesson.
  • Which areas need more details?  What can be added?
Explain that adding details in painting can be compared to adding details to writing to make a composition more interesting. The teacher will demonstrate how to add details using a small brush.    
Students will identify areas of their paintings that need more details. They can use the digital photos from the neighbohood walk as inspiration.
Display student work.
  • Select a painting that includes details that tell the viewer what the artist experienced.  Why do the details make the painting more interesting?
  • Ask a volunteer to explain how he/she used a photograph to add details to their work.
  • In what way are our paintings like Faith Ringgold's?  In what ways are they different?
In preparation for lesson #6, the classroom teacher will work with students to prepare a title for their painting and an artist's statement explaining what they want the viewer to know about the scene they have depicted.