Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peacock Parade!

Isn't he adorable?
I will confess to being so obsessed with this lesson the first year I did it, that I saw peacocks (real, live ones) everywhere I went.  I was taking my oldest daughter to her guitar lessons and saw one along the side of the road, and she totally didn't believe me because I'd been talking about peacocks non-stop (on a later trip, along the same stretch of road, she saw it and apologized for her disbelief).  Anyway, this is a lesson I got from a book and adapted for my classroom (I think it was supposed to be in conjunction with a book, but I never found the book as interesting as the actual lesson).

So, first grade has been busy learning all about warm and cool colors, and this is sort of our culmination.  I tell them it's a "test."  We start our painting feathers together on 18 x 24 white paper that we've folded into fourths:

We start painting a U shape near the top of the paper with a warm color (students choose).
Then we fill the U shape with another warm color and circle it, then we circle again
with another/different warm color.  We add a neutral line from the warm circle and then use cool colors
for the lines coming from the neutral line, and cool colors along the top of the circle.

 We spend 1-2 class periods just painting feathers, but I never tell them that we're painting peacock feathers.  I just let them wonder about it for a while. Then, we paint the peacock body all together (this is when they figure out we're painting a peacock):
We also paint the peacock together, but students choose
which cool/warm/neutral color they want to use. 
We start with the eye, then the body, then add beak,
legs and feathers on the head.

 The final step is the cutting and gluing.  They have to work every minute of class to get it all done, and there's too many pieces to finish it next time.  This year, I finally got smart and wrote their names on their peacock bodies in Sharpie as they worked, alleviating me from having to rush and do it while they're putting them in the drying rack at the end. Some peacocks for your enjoyment:

Love how this one is looking back at his tail feathers.

We don't have time to cut around every single part of the feathers,
although this could be cut a little closer.

There's a definate personality here!
See how the feet look like high heels?

This one looks startled!

This lesson really lets everyone do a great job!

I do enjoy how the feathers fan out all around here.

Close up of a cutie face.


  1. Not sure if you saw our art teacher mixed media workshop called Peacock-a-Palooza! :) Here is the link...lots of peacock projects you could do!!!

  2. Yes, Mr. E, I was following your peacock palooza pretty closely!


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