Non-Objective Art

This lesson is adapted from a lesson found on the Incredible Art Department website and the entire lesson may be found there. I will post my adapted version in this blog entry.

I have done this lesson with second graders, but it is adaptable to all ages and skill levels.

Materials Needed:

* white paper- 12" X 16" (I cut the paper to this size so that it can be mounted on to colored paper with a 1" border)

* tempera in various colors, including black
* paint brushes
* scraps of decorative paper (patterned, metallic, etc.)
* spray bottles filled with liquid watercolor
* paper cutter
* glue

Explain to students what Non-Objective Art is: "Artworks having no recognizable subject matter (not recognizable as such things as houses, trees, people, etc.) Also known as non-representational art" (from ArtLex). Show examples, if possible.

The Decorative Process:


Students paint various lines, shapes, and patterns on their white paper using various colors of tempera (no black at this point). Stress that no recognizable items should be painted.

Students glue various scraps of decorative paper at random spots on their painting.

Students use black tempera (or ink) to outline various shapes and add more lines to their painting.


Using spray bottles filled with liquid watercolor, students mist their paintings to add even more color and texture.

The Collage process:

I use the paper cutter to cut their paintings in to 2" squares and place their pieces in individual envelopes. Students could also measure and cut their own paintings using scissors.


Students randomly glue their pieces on to another piece of white 10" X 16" paper, making sure they fit them back together without gaps or overlaps.

I mounted these on to colored construction paper and they looked fabulous!

Photos of the process:

You can see all of my students' artwork on our Artsonia gallery.


  1. These look absolutely great! Thank you for the link to the Incredible Art Department too; I'd never come across this site before!

  2. Wow- coolzy lesson

  3. These are gorgeous! I will definitely have to try this. Thanks for the post!

  4. Love this lesson! Thanks for sharing it! Found it while looking for inspiration for line/shape lessons for back to school in Sept. Love your blog, it was one of the art ed blogs that inspired me to start my own last Jan. :)


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