Monday, January 14, 2013

Kindergarten Bird Paintings Inspired by Audubon

~ Geometric Shapes, Organic Shapes, and Drawing from Observation ~

Bluejay by Mathias

Kindergarten students learned a little about the artwork of John James Audubon with this lesson. We looked at some of his bird paintings and talked about how he observed birds in nature to see what they really looked like. 

We discussed what drawing from observation meant. Since we couldn't go outside in the cold and get a bird to sit still for us, we did our observation from photographs. I picked out a handful of birds that students would have seen in our area - Northwest Illinois - and printed out pictures for students to look at. We had just done a lesson in shape. We discussed the two kinds of shapes - geometric and organic (free-form) shapes before the students started drawing the bird they picked to do. I continued to remind students to look at the bird and see what shapes they saw and draw what they saw. One student got to giggling at me because I kept repeating "as you draw look at the picture then back to your paper...then back to the picture. Look at the picture...look at the paper...look at the picture..." He repeated "picture - paper- picture-paper" while giggling. But they got the idea and all really looked at the shapes they saw!

After drawing with pencils, I had the students go over the lines with a black Sharpie marker. The next class students painting their birds. Again they picked up the bird photos so that they could look at the colors as they painted. The birds below were painted with tempera cakes.  See more of our Kindergarten birds in our Artsonia gallery.

Mallard Duck by Alandra

Cardinal by Hailey

Robin by Olivia


  1. Great lesson! Thanks for sharing it! :)

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  3. I love this lesson plan. It is a shame that you guys didn’t get to go outside and observe birds out in nature but I think that you got the point across to the students. They did wonderful jobs on all of their drawings.