Put pencil to paper and start making a line that eventually connects to itself. You just made a shape! Color and line help define shape. Sometimes lines themselves can be shapes.  Let’s discover which objects in this painting, called Parade are lines themselves.

Find lines that are parading as shapes!

How can you tell if something is a shape? Any flat image created with lines that meet is a shape. Shapes can be just outlined or solidly filled in. Look again at Jacob Lawrence’s Parade.

Artists use many shapes. For example, in many works you’ll see geometric shapes like circles, squares, triangles, rectangles and ovals. How does Grant Wood use circles and ovals in his painting Stone City, Iowa ? Where does he use rectangles?

Grant Wood's Stone City, Iowa

Grant Wood, Stone City, Iowa (1930)

What do you see in this painting?

Where did the artist use circles and ovals?

Where did the artist use squares?

What about the hills? How would you define the shapes used for hills? (organic)

Where do you see patterns?

Do you think Stone City looked exactly like the artist painted it?

Show actual photographs of a farming town so that children can compare the photographs to Stone City, Iowa. You can extend this by showing photographs of other areas of the country such as a city, or a mountainous view, and then asking children to imitate Grant Wood’s style while creating a picture of the other geographic location.

We time-travel to the land of One Shape…

Ask children to create their own piece of artwork using only shapes. For example, ask them to draw a picture of a friend or specific object using only circles, only squares or only triangles.


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