Patterns in Nature: 8th grade hands

I just love this project . . . students were asked to find a pattern nature.  They chose anything from animal fur to microorganisms.  They replicted the pattern using acrylic paint on 12×18″ paper.  Once their painting was complete, they camoflaged their hand within the painting.  I photograped each composition and now students are manipulating the images in PhotoShop.  They are INCREDIBLE!  And best of all, the students are so impressed with themselves 🙂 .

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February 8, 2010 - 3:25 pm

Gail Dahn - Totally cool!!

February 8, 2010 - 3:42 pm

Kim Ferris - I LOVE THIS! It is VERY COOL!

February 8, 2010 - 8:25 pm

Andi - Wow! This is awesome!

February 8, 2010 - 8:46 pm

Andrea McClain - OMG I love this, so very cool!!!

February 8, 2010 - 11:16 pm

Jani Moore - These are truly beautiful pieces of art. Each one of your students should be very impressed with these awesome works.

February 9, 2010 - 12:20 am

Barb - I love the colors in these projects. Your students are very creative! Of course, they have an exceptional teacher too!

February 9, 2010 - 11:20 am

jodi kinasewitz - AWESOME!!!

February 9, 2010 - 7:56 pm

Liz Avery - This looks great! What an awesome project! 🙂

February 12, 2010 - 9:53 am

Karen Mitchell - I got your link from the Getty Art teacher discussion board, but then deleted the email before I could reply. These are neat! I was wondering if you could email me what you are having the students do to the images in Photoshop? I am teaching a digital art class for the first time and would love to have more project ideas!

February 14, 2010 - 11:00 am

DonnalynShuster - WOW. VERY COOL. Can you tell me how you did it in Photoshop? I am doing an exploratory class in PS( very basic) for a ten week segment for grade 6…my kids would LOVE this!! Thanks so much.

Donnalyn in NY

February 19, 2010 - 2:39 am

John C - What a phenomenal concept. School art is one of my favorite things to view. This is one of the most unique ideas that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Your excellent photos showcased it perfectly.

January 22, 2012 - 9:13 pm

Inisha Hoehamer - I’m an art teacher as well and I love this idea!! I also really like your idea with the t-shirts. I was wondering how did you start that project? I noticed Piet was one of the artists the student was mimicking, but was curious as to the plan of that lesson. Really love your site, you have some GREAT ideas!!

January 22, 2012 - 10:17 pm

Melissa - Inisha- Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! I start each semester with the exact same project, I just mix up the format. For example, I did that same project using traced hands/arms last semester and this semester I will have the students create pinwheels. The basic idea is that I introduce 5 artists (Usually Mondrian, O’Keeffe, Pollock, Van Gogh and Bridget Riley and/or Keith Haring). I cover each artist and demonstrate their style using different media. I like starting with this project because I cover a lot of Art History and introduce the kids to a variety of media (and give the how-tos of where to find things in the art room and how to clean up.) Hope that helps!

March 5, 2012 - 9:55 pm

Nic Hahn - Thanks for the inspiration!! You were right. The kids LOVED this!!!!

December 12, 2013 - 6:10 am

Stacey - Hi there, I am an art teacher and my students are between 11 and 13 years. We did this project and now I cannot escape it! We started by drawing patterns outside and around the school then looked at others I printed from nature – feathers, fish, plants etc. It was fantastic to show them how to apply paint and mix colours as they went. I photographed them, printed them out and laminated them. They are amazing and the kids made so many breakthroughs…they also related it to the camouflage in “The Hunger Games” series. Thanks so much!

July 14, 2017 - 4:38 pm

Tempest Executive Director - I love this! What kind of paint did they use for their hands? Do you think it would work with younger kiddos?

September 2, 2018 - 2:54 pm

Amy - Hi! Just wondering what you had your students do in Photoshop in terms of manipulation after the photograph of the hand and painting…how did they take this further?


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