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Level: Middle School
Grades: 6-8 | Age: 11-14 yrs | Written by: Amy Shapley
[Amy is a PreK-8 art teacher at Notre Dame de Sion School of Kansas City.]

Students will learn about pop art as they create "sweet" paintings inspired by artist Wayne Thiebaud.

What You Need:

("Three Machines" (1963), by Wayne Thiebaud. De Young Museum, San Francisco)

What You Do:
  1. Show examples of the work of Wayne Thiebaud. Focus on the works that depict sweets and use the thickened paint. discuss the size and visuals of Thiebaud work. Discuss the thickness of paint. Discuss the colors Thiebaud used. Discuss the balance that is so necessary in such large compositions.
  2. Make a list on the board of the focal points of the work:
    • large, balanced composition
    • sweets as subjects
    • pastel colors
    • thick frothy paint

  3. Choose a sweet subject and begin to sketch it in balance on the poster board or prepared canvas. Remember to enlarge logically, and that it is okay to have part of the objects "fall off the edge" of the ground.
  4. Once the design has been roughly sketched, begin to mix paint for the back ground. ALL colors must be mixed with white to create a pastel. When mixing with white, remember that you add small amounts of color to the white paint until you reach the value you desire. Do not add white to color or you will have to add bucket loads of white before you reach a pastel tint. Add thickener or textural additives to the paint as desired. The back ground can have less texture than the subject matter in order to give the foreground emphasis.
  5. Add frothy texture as you add the foreground of the painting. Think of frosting...
  6. As the painting dries, keep an eye on how the thickener affects the color and texture of the paint. Add new layers of paint and manipulate the paint with palette knives of brushes until you reach the desired effect.


Wayne Thiebaud on Wikipedia

Recommended Books/Products:

Wayne Thiebaud: A Paintings Retrospective
by: Steven A. Nash, Adam Gopnik (Contributor), Wayne Thiebaud
Famous for his dreamy 1960s paintings of cakes, Wayne Thiebaud began his career as a commercial artist and cartoon illustrator like many other artists of the period, including Andy Warhol. And like Warhol, Thiebaud became tied to pop art since he was making images of popular American products like food, lipsticks, and toys. Yet unlike many of his pop peers, Bay Area-based Thiebaud wasn't interested in poking fun at the establishment.

My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Paint!
Creating with strings, fingers, rollers, straws, and other super techniques: no wonder this entry in Lark's fabulous new art series will have kids saying "I love to paint!"

Painting with Children
Painting with Children contains sections on the "moral effects of color," the experience of colors, preparation, color stories and poems, panting with plant colors, painting the moods and seasons of nature, and much more.

The Science Book of Color
by Neil Ardley
This book explains the principles of color and gives instructions for a variety of simple experiments.

My First Paint Book
by Dawn Sirett
Twenty-two activities, from stenciled boxes to T-shirt designs, are presented along with step-by-step, full-color photographs and clear instructions, in a visual introduction to making and decorating things with paint.

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