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Imaginations Soar With Dynamic Doodles

Create colorful fantasy blobs and shapes. Decorate them with interesting lines and dots! Find words to describe your free-form symbols with a technique called automatic writing.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Joan Miro (1893-1983) was a Spanish artist who was involved with an art movement called Surrealism. Surrealism began in the early 1900s and is based on things that people think, write, and draw from deep inside our brains, called the subconscious. Sigmund Freud studied the strange ideas from our dreams. A group of artists, called Surrealists, used these ideas to create their art. Many of Miro’s paintings show people as strange and simple blobs.
    2. Organize students in small groups and provide a wide-variety of text and electronic resources on Surrealism for students to view. Challenge students to investigate this unique art form.
    3. Once research is complete, invite students to try some of these techniques to make their own Surrealist art with the brilliant Crayola Neon Color Explosion® Marker and Paper System. Let the imagination soar!
    4. Start with the background, perhaps a simple landscape with a few lines to show the horizon and maybe a layer of water. Or it can simply be a shape following an interesting line. Color small areas with short lines going the same way. Make blobs going in different directions. Overlap the edges a little. This creates an interesting texture that looks much like an oil painting.
    5. On small pieces of Neon Color Explosion Paper, draw a curvy shape with contrasting colors to represent a person. Draw other silly shapes to be other things around the people, but keep them abstract (they don’t look real). Attach these pieces with glue dots to give work extra dimension.
    6. Add interesting dark or contrasting lines, dots, and squiggles to finish a bright, Surreal picture.
    7. Discuss with students: What do the shapes remind you of? With a Crayola Erasable Colored Pencil, students write down the first things that come to mind. This is called free association.
    8. Use this list of words to write a story or poem about the picture. With this technique, called automatic writing, thoughts can be random and the ideas may not make sense! These are the real ideas on which Surrealism is based.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Joan Miro by Caroline Lanchner; Imagine That!: Activities and Adventures in Surrealism by Joyce Raimando; Draw with Joan Miro by Ana Salvador; Miro: Earth and Sky by Claire-Helene Blanquet

    Teachers may wish to create an electronic presentation of Miro's work that includes selections appropriate for the age level.

    Upon completion of their artwork, students study their piece and identify several words that describe their artwork. Next, students swap with a partner, study the partner's artwork, and add descriptive terms to the list. Students can use these terms to write a free verse poem focused on their original artwork. Give the poem and artwork a title!


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