Lesson #2: Using Color and Shape to Depict a Familiar Place: The first of three linked lessons

Part of the unit: Discoveries in Collage |


How can we use collage materials to depict a favorite place?
Students will be able to:
Make observations about a work of art
Use scissors to cut shapes
Employ color to convey a sense of place
Students will understand that:
Artists use various materials and techniques to evoke a sense of place

Multi-colored construction paper (9”x12”), glue/brush, scissors


Roadmaster by Alex Katz, collage (7”x 9 1/2”) 1955-56.  (www.nyss.org/cutout/katz_essay.html)

Direct students to the Alex Katz collage, Roadmaster. Ask questions, such as:
  • What colors do you see? What shapes do you see?
  • Describe the scene. What do you see in the foreground? In the background?

Invite a few students to talk about places they like to visit, such as a park or beach.

  • Tell us about this place. Why do you like it?

Explain to youngsters that they will create collages that will show them in a favorite setting. They will begin with depicting the scene, then later placing their figure in the composition.


Demonstrate the proper handling of scissors.

Describe a favorite place such as a beach, park, or pool. Select a background color that emphasizes the major palette of the scene. Hold the paper vertically, so that when adding a figure in the next lesson the composition will be balanced. Cut major shapes, and connect them to build a background. Glue shapes to paper.
Distribute paper and scissors. After students have experimented with placement of shapes, have them glue papers. While they are working, pose questions, such as:
  • What shapes are you using to depict your setting? What colors?
  • What more do you want to do?
Invite a few students to share their work. Pose questions, such as:
  • Where is this place?
  • Why did you choose these colors?
  • Where will you place yourself in this collage?
In cooperation with the classroom teacher, have students write a few sentences about the place depicted in their collage:
  • Identify the location.
  • Describe the place.
  • Explain why it is a favorite spot.


Art making: Through an exploration of art materials and techniques, students exercise imagination Literacy: Describe compositional elements in work; reflect on the process of art making