Paul Klee Abstract Castle

Klee+Pencil+CastlePaul Klee was one of the great colorists in the history of painting. I developed this project that imitates his abstract “Castle and Sun” painting by having students trace cardboard shapes and fill them in with colored pencils.
1. Give each student a piece of black paper, a pencil and half a dozen or so cutout square, rectangle and triangle cardboard shapes. I made lots of shapes that were all based on 1″ proportions. My sample uses 2″ squares, 1″ x 2″ rectangles (some with triangle tops) 3″ x 2″ rectangles, a 3″ bridge, and a 2″ circle.
2. Starting at the bottom, the students are to stack and trace the cardboard shapes until they have built a castle to their liking. A sun is also added somewhere in the sky. After the drawing is done, they are to trace all the pencil lines with a white colored pencil.
3. All the shapes are filled in with colored pencil. Tip: If you think this may be a “keeper” project and you have the resources, buy some good black Artagain paper which won’t face before your very eyes like the school-regulated construction paper does. There’s nothing like good materials to make good art (sometimes!)

6 Responses

  1. Tom Bremer

    My district has Paul Klee recommended as an artist to study in first grade. After some googling around for ideas, I found your blog entry. Nice work on this–so far it seems like students are all getting in to it. A decent amount of structure in the lesson with leeway open for creative interpretation (I’ve had windows, flags, bars, etc.)

  2. Kathy Barbro

    Hi Jaz,
    You’re right, I should note that I used my semi-expensive pencil crayons, the student Dick Blick brand. If that’s not in your budget, construction crayons work great on black paper too.

  3. JAZ

    I’m a bit confused by this one – will colored pencils really show up that bright on black construction paper???

  4. Johnsen Crew

    We did the Castle and Sun this week with our homeschool co-op. Thank you for taking the time to do this blog. The kids loved doing this project!!

    Lisa J.

  5. What a striking result, loving the black background.

  6. Jen

    I’m homeschooling my 4 children and my 3rd grader LOVES art! I’m so glad I found your site because I’m sure I will use MANY of your ideas. Thank you for generously sharing your talent!

    Jen Y.

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