I did this Art Adventure, focusing on The Scream by Edward Munch, with the second graders and it was SO MUCH FUN! Who doesn’t like creating art of themselves screaming, right!?!?
And, all of their masterpieces turned out fantastically!!
I am going to detail how to do this Art Adventure Project as a Classroom project, but you can easily adapt it to do at home, or with a small group. (A huge THANK YOU to the kiddos and parents who gave me permission to share these fun pics!)
This is a two-part Art Adventure project:
Part One: Discussion, painting, and taking pics of the kids “screaming” to print and add to their dry paintings. Allow about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours for Part One.
Part Two: Cutting out their scream portraits and mounting them to their dry paintings. Allow 20-30 minutes for this part.
As with all Art Adventure projects we focused on 3 main things during our session. We practiced Seeing Like an Artist, Thinking Like an Artist, and Creating Like an Artist – because everyone can be an artist! (=
To get started Seeing & Thinking Like an Artist I shared 3 versions of Munch’s The Scream with the kids. We studied the art for a few minutes and then had a discussion about the various similar pieces of art. Here are some questions to jump start your discussion.
- Do you recognize these paintings?
- What do you think of these paintings? How would you describe them?
- How do you think the person in the painting is feeling?
- How did Munch use color to set the mood? (Discuss how the colors are not realistic, but based on emotion)
- Do you like The Scream? Why or why not?
Then we jumped into the Creating Like an Artist section of the Art Adventure project (which, of course, is everyone’s favorite part).
While kids were painting we took a couple of them aside at a time to take pictures of them “screaming.” Luckily the paint shirts I brought were gray and worked well as the “costume.” You could bring a large dark t-shirt for kids to wear, or they could be in clothes, paint shirts, or whatever you have to work with. Have each kid pose in front of a bare area of the wall and act like they are screaming. The kiddos were able to pull off very realistic screaming poses while making no noise whatsoever in the school hallway. (=
Print the pics in black and white to bring back for Part Two. It is a good idea to bring TWO prints of each kid, sometimes kids slip while cutting themselves out of their pic so it’s nice to have a backup so they can try again. Once they have themselves cut out of their print they can mount it on their Scream background. I have found that Glue Dots work best to mount to the acrylic paint.
Here are some samples of the finished masterpieces. (=
A couple of Notes to make this a successful Art Adventure:
- Use canvas panels for this project to make sure they are sturdy enough to hold up to the paint and the photo mounting. I order my canvas panels from Dick Blick, and I got the 8×10 size for this project. Here is a link to their Economy Canvas Panel Classroom Packs in case you want to look at them. They are the best deal I’ve found so far. If you know of a better deal somewhere, please share! (=
- Use Acrylic Paint for this project – NOT tempera. These are going to turn out very cool, and the kiddos are going to be very proud of them and want to hold onto them for a long time. So, stay away from the tempera paint which will dry and flake off. (= I just get bottles of craft acrylic paint at Michaels when it is on sale, not the more expensive artist’s acrylic, and it works great! The thing to remember about acrylic paint though is that it WILL NOT come out of clothes once it’s dry. Be sure to give the kids paint shirts to wear, and maybe even send home a note ahead of time telling the parents to send them to school in something they wouldn’t be devastated if it got a bit of paint on it for paint day. (= Also, cover the work areas, etc. and teach the kids about how to be safe & respectful with paint. I actually didn’t have ANY issues with the second graders, kids really like being trusted to use more “adult” art supplies and are often very careful with them. Of course, accidents can happen, but I think the more you trust kids with adult art supplies, the more they will rise to the occasion. (=
- The VERY FIRST THING each kid should do BEFORE PAINTING is to write their name on the back of the canvas panel. The paintings will all look similar in nature after Day One – so it’s important to be able to tell them apart.
- If you have a very large group, it is a good idea to have a second helper to be the Photographer so you can keep an eye on the painters.
Here are some Art Adventure sheets that you can send home with the kiddos so they can discuss what they learned with their families.
The Scream’s artist, Edvard Munch (Pronounced Moonch), was born in Norway in 1863. He dealt with a lot of sickness, both in himself and his family, as a child and much of his art conveys the unhappiness he felt. His work was considered objectionable in the late 1800s, but although he died in 1944 he is now considered one of Norway’s greatest artists. Munch created many versions of The Scream and they are often described as the first Expressionistic paintings.
Expressionism is a style of art in which the artist tries to express certain feelings about something. The artist is more concerned about their art conveying a feeling than they are about making it look exactly like what they are painting. Some people think The Scream is meant to convey how Munch himself felt, like he was overwhelmed with anxiety and needing to scream. Due to this excerpt from an entry in his journal others think he was trying to paint how nature felt: “I was walking along a path with two friends–the sun was setting–suddenly the sky turned blood red–I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence–there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city–my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety–and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”
In 2003, astronomers identified that the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 caused unusually intense sunsets throughout Europe during the time the painting depicted, this is one explanation for the red sky Munch captured in the painting. Many art scholars still feel that the sky is representative of Munch’s emotions and anxiety, and is not the visual after effects of the volcano. Even today The Scream is very popular. You can see references to it in cartoons, advertisements and movies.
You might also like this Fun Reading Posters Art Adventure.
It is also perfect for a classroom project, or a fun project at home. (=