Post Modern Art.

I had to go to a day of training.  Now, when I’m gone I don’t like to leave any art supplies art because as a rule they are trashed or gone when I return.  I’m not suggesting it is the substitute teacher’s fault, the kids get squirrely when they have supplies without constant supervision.  So my students watched a video about post modern art movements and took notes.  We reviewed a part of the video when I came back and then tried to create some of our own po-mo art with oil pastels.  This was with the low level 8th grade class, which comes with a host of challenges I do not have with my other 7th and 8th grade classes.

In the style of Jackson Pollock

In the style of Jackson Pollock

Modern Art Project Inspired by the artworks of Piet Mondrian (Grades 1-8)

By Autumn Bates

Some artworks by Piet Mondrian


Introduce students to Piet Mondrian.  For lower Elementary students I would focus on PRIMARY COLORS and VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL LINES for upper Elementary students I would focus on dividing the paper up into segments, making clean lines, and USING A RULER PROPERLY.  I know that measuring is a 3rd (4th?) grade standard, but so many of my students come into jr. high art without the knowledge of how to use a ruler to draw.  For 7-8 I would focus on a BALANCED COMPOSITION and RULER USE.


Lower Elementary: gridded paper, colored markers.

  Begin by filling in a gridded vertical line all the way across the paper with a black marker.  Then pick a horizontal line coming off the vertical line and darken it.  Continue in this manner until they are happy with the results.  Now we begin by picking squares to color in with the red, yellow, blue or leaving in white.  

Middle Elementary: white paper and gridded paper the same size, ruler, scissors, stick glue, red, yellow, and blue colored paper.

On the gridded paper, divide it into sections and color it in the same as the lower elementary project.  Cut out these lines (leaving them all connected) and glue onto the blank white paper.  For Middle Elementary students they could then use the left over shapes to glue onto the colored papers and then cut out and glue onto the white paper in the proper sections.

 For Upper Elementary Students: Do the project the same as the middle elementary students but measure the size of the shapes left, use a ruler to measure that same shape onto the colored paper, then cut out and glue down.

For 7th and 8th grade: Review how to use a ruler.  Start with 3 sketches where they first divide their paper into sections and then color it in and then they pick their best one to make again as a final.  I would prefer to use marker for this project, but any material works.  OR pick one of his more challenging pieces, like Broadway Boogie Woogie to make out of construction paper.

I will be doing this project for the first week or more with my junior high students. It involves the learning about the Elements of Art and Principles of Design and I’m happy about that because I require my students to identify the Elements and Principles in the artwork we analyze.

Elements of Art book

Elements of Art book

Elements of Art/Principles of Design book

Original project by: Anne Jones

2-3 days (maybe more)

Grade level: 7-8 grade


  • Color pencils
  • things that make subtle texture, like string or bits of rice or cut up straws or something (for the texture element of art)
  • paper strips 42″ x 6″ 1 per pupil (I mean, it could be 36″ or something else, the point is to make 16 pages) thicker paper is better, it will allow the book to stand up by itself. Our examples were made out of cardstock, but you could use old manila folders or thick construction paper
  • templates big enough to fill up a goodly amount of each page. 2 templates per person (one for the elements of art and 1 for the principles of design)

Begin by explaining each of the elements of art or principles of design or have students break into groups and have each group explain one of them (good community building activity, plus they have to meet other people) so that students have an understanding of the elements of art/principles of design before they begin the book.

Accordion fold the paper so that you have 16 sections that are 4×6 inches

On the first section, write “Elements of art” (thats your cover page)

Skip the second section

On the third section write “Line” at the top of the page, trace the template onto the center of the page and fill it up with types of lines.

Skip the next section

Continue with one page blank and one page filled with each of the elements of art :Line, color, shape, value, space, form, texture

Principles of Design book

Now, flip it over. On the back of the last element of art you did your going to write “Principles of Design” and again, alternating 1 page filled, one page empty, trace the template onto each page, fill in the shape with decorations that express that principle of design (because it is the back of the accordion, you will find that you can only fit 6 principles, so do two on the same page).

The goal is to have a book that when open one way shows all the elements of art and when turned around will list all the principles of design.

I really recommend you do an example book first, so that you can trouble-shoot, be able to explain it more easily, and so that you have an awesome example.