Let’s Get Started


Art has the ability to tell stories. Sometimes they are quite clear to the viewer while other times they are hidden beneath the surface. In this activity students have the opportunity to use their imagination to create an artwork that tells a story. Their story. This lesson is open to the use of different media and can follow a Language Arts lesson on storytelling and fairytales. This lesson also deals with surrealism as it is based on the imagination.


The teacher ideally will talk to the students about storytelling and how stories can bring to mind vivid imagery. During a Language Arts class the students can write their own story or fairytale. This fairytale can be about anyone or anything they desire. Try not to have limitations on where their imagination leads them. The work they create is based on the fairytale they write. Paint can be put in paint palettes or on trays before the class to help with time restrictions.

Paint can be put in trays before the class.


Note:  The example image of Nancy Morin’s painting will be on display for the class to refer to if needed. This lesson is based on the Language Arts lesson.

  1. The students will all have their creative writing piece in front of them.
  2. Advice students to take the time to read over their piece and try to think about what imagery comes to mind when they read it. Is there anything particular that comes to mind? Any animals? Colours? Flowers? People? etc.
  3. For students K-2: The students will draw their image on the Bristol board.
  4. For students 3-5: The students will now take some time and on the plain pieces of paper they can begin to sketch out some ideas for what they want their final piece to be.
  5. After they have done a few sketches, they can choose the layout for their final piece and draw it on the Bristol board.
  6. For all students: Once the students have their drawing on the Bristol board they will now take the time to paint their image. They do not have to stick to realistic colours and can be as imaginative as they want to be. This activity is all about the fantastical and surreal.
  7. Students will be given their paint tray with their spectrum of colours (which varies depending on resources). Be sure to not use too much black as it over powers most colours very easily.
  8. The paper can also be distributed at this time by a student who is waiting their turn to get their paint.
  9. Students will now be instructed to begin painting with the tempera paint. While the students are painting the teacher can distribute the paper towel so that they have something to clean their brushes with when needed.
  10. Their pieces can be filled in with markers or coloured pencils, but paint is more ideal for this lesson as it allows them the opportunity for colour mixing and fluid lines.
  11. Once their pieces have had an opportunity to dry, probably the next day, students will share their stories and their images with the rest of the class.
  12. An added activity would have students share their stories. Their fellow classmates then select the image they think belong with each story. This activity encourages students to share their work with their peers in a non-intimidating manner.
  13. For students who have completed their assignment they can attempt to reinterpret their story in a different style of painting.


Tips and Tricks

Left over baby food jars and jam jars make perfect water containers for painting activities. Do not give students their paint and paintbrushes too early, as it will be very difficult from them to not play with their supplies before they are ready to.