Thursday, September 27, 2012

Expression Gourds

I took inspiration from the funny faces on the pumpkins in this art lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. I wanted a lesson that was Autumnal and helped my students to better understand the concept of facial expression in art work. 

On Day 1 of the project we talked about gourds and I brought a bunch of real gourds in to examine with our eyes, noses, and fingers. We made some funky paste paper with some bright Fall colors hand-mixed with cornstarch to give the paint texture. We used some recycled cut plastic hand tools to make repetitive line patterns in the wet paint.

On Day 2, I put some trays with scraps of black and white paper on each table and jumped right into deconstructing the idea of facial expression. When I teach expression, I focus only on mouth and eyebrow placement. I made this poster which displays my good friend Rex with detachable eyebrow and mouth shapes. I use Rex to demonstrate how the direction our eyebrows are drawn sends a very specific emotive impression. I have students come up and take turns matching his facial features to a feeling.
The Rex-pression chart showing angry, surprised, thoughtful, and frustrated.
I totally love how thoughtful these expressions turned out. Way to go 2nd Grade!


  1. Did you have tracers for the gourd shapes or did they just cut them from observation? And I love the rex-expression poster. Genius. I am pinning many things. ;)

  2. Hey Girlfriend,

    I LOVE the Gourd-ies! Tres' cute and muy colorful. I am so stealing Rex-pression, too!
    Although I might make Beks-spression, a more feminine-centric character, or Lex-spression, a more Superman-centric character......I'm just foolin' with you! Ha! Can you tell I've finally lost my mind? Lonnng Daaay..... Went to a Teacher workshop tonight at our world famous ( :) ) Joslyn Art Museum and learned how to paint with something called Liquin, an additive for oil paints that make them dry in 4 hours! Heard a great lecture about famous illustrators and had a great tour of the museum's Remington sculptures and paintings. Oh well, gonna go catch some beauty sleep! Laters!


  3. I especially like the textured paper using cornstarch - it has possibilities for so many applications :)

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I have been hearing about *cheese painting* gourds from Rose and it was nice to see what she meant. She loves art class!

    1. Thanks, Evan! You are my VERY FIRST parent comment on C vs. S!!! I am absolutely delighted that you checked out the blog and am tickled to hear that Rose is enjoying art class. I am a big fan of her art as well. She is an extremely creative young lady.