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junior high school UNIT EXAMPLe

abstraction from reality


This lesson focuses on abstract art, and one of the many ways of developing an abstract image using real life things. 


Length of Time: 1-2 Weeks


Objectives & Outcomes:


After this unit, students will understand that abstract art is not just carelessly splattered paint, smears, and random shapes. They will be able to demonstrate the creative process of using a collage of real-life images as inspiration for an abstract painting.


Materials Needed:

  • Magazines

  • Paper scraps

  • Markers

  • Glue

  • Paper

  • Paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Canvases or thick paper



  • Abstraction

  • Non-objective

  • Realism

  • Collage

  • Inspiration

  • Simplify

  • Generalize


Body of the Lesson:


There will be a class discussion about historic abstract artists and their paintings. We will discuss the difference between abstract, realism, and non-objective. We will also look at original inspirations were used to create different abstract artworks. Each of the vocabulary words will be used during this presentation and during the discussions.

Students will then try to guess the inspirations for a number of abstract pieces of art, explaining why.

After the student have a good grasp of the differences between realism, abstract, and non-objective, and also have a good idea of how to guess the visual inspirations for abstract art, we will talk about the project.

Independent Creating:


Step 1: After a collaging review demonstration, students will use magazines, scrap construction paper, and markers to create an interesting composition that can be used as INSPIRATION for an abstract painting. This means that they will be simplifying the generalized shapes and colors so that they will not look exactly like the original images that they once were in the magazine. 


Step 2: Students will draw out the generalized composition on their final painting work surface. This gives them guidelines for control before they begin painting.


Step 3: Students will begin painting their generalized composition based on the collage, focusing on making it abstract. They will have already learned basic painting techniques before this lesson. 

The painting should resemble the collage in shape placement, generalized colors and patterns, and overall "squinting" look.




The paintings will be hung up, and students will try to guess what the inspired images are in the paintings. It is okay if they are wrong - that is the goal after all! This will lead into a discussion about the process.

  • What was the most challenging part of this unit?

  • Did you think you generalized your composition enough to where it is abstract?

  • Which did you enjoy more: painting or collage?

At the end of the unit, students will try to match collages with paintings without knowing who's is who's. 

Assessment & Evaluation:


  • Observation of student participation in opening and closing discussions.

  • Demonstration of generalizing collage image into an abstract painting.

  • Demonstrating effort in executing required techniques and craftsmanship.

ms absract 1.jpg
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