Lesson #6: Painting our Standing Mobiles

Part of the unit: Creating a Standing Mobile |


How can the use of color be expressive?
Students will be able to:
Discuss how color can influence the viewer's response to an artwork
Skillfully use paint and brushes to add color to their sculpture.
Students will understand that:
An artist's choice of color is integral to the viewer's response to a work of art.
Artists must be able to skillfully use their chosen medium.

Acrylic or tempera paint in black, white, and the primary colors;  brushes of assorted sizes, plastic containers for water, paper towels, newspapers to cover tables; colored student sketches from the previous lesson.


Two teacher-made sketches of a Calder standing mobile - one colored with primary colors and black, and the other colored with analagous colors and black.


Display two teacher-made sketches of a Calder standing mobile - one in primary colors and black, and the other in analogous colors and black.

  • Describe your reaction to each colored sketch? 
  • Why is the choice of color such an important decision for an artist?

List student response to both sketches.  Point out the difference in the viewers' responses.

Use your sketches from the last lesson as a guide for how to paint your work.  Begin painting the areas that are in the middle first.  The last shapes to be painted should be the ones on the outside.

  • Why should you do it in this order?



Before the students begin painting, carefully review the proper use of the medium, making sure to demonstrate how to wash the brushes before using a different color paint.  Jars of paint and brushes of assorted sizes can be placed at each table so that students can share.  The tables should be covered with newspaper.  Provide water containers.  Instructions for where to place the wet work should be discussed as well.

Students will paint their standing mobiles using their sketches as a guide.

Ask the class to reflect on their work by answering the following questions:

  • What was challenging about adding color to your standing mobile?
  • What reaction would you like viewers to have to your sculpture?

Using the internet, find three websites that feature information on Alexander Calder.  List five of the most interesting things you learned about him.