Silhouette Cityscapes (2nd)

This week with 2nd grade we continued looking at the artist Vincent Van Gogh (the previous week we looked at his still-lifes and made some lovely sunflower art). This week's focus however was on his painting "Starry Night" (a personal favorite of mine)! As a class we discussed how he created a sense of movement in his sky with his brushstrokes and lines and then did some line movements.
I make all the kids stand up and repeat after me.
"Horizontal!" We hold our arms out wide.
"Vertical!" We hold our arms straight up (I tell them this is the touchdown line).
"Diagonal!" We tilt our arms diagonally.
"Wavy!" We do the wave. :)
"Zig-zag!" We move our right arm up then down and then our left arm up and down.
"Spiral!" We draw an invisible spiral in the arm.
"Broken!" We hold our arms in front of our bodies so that our left and right hands are nearly touching at the fingertips but leave some space and pretend to be sad (because it's broken!!!).
 Then we discuss which line types would be the best choice to create the illusion of movement in our skies (we decide on wavy and spiral as being the best). Students then go back and fill a sheet of 9"x12" white drawing paper with a variety of lines in oil pastel. Afterwards students use liquid watercolor paints to paint their papers (I let them use whatever colors they'd like).
The next day when the kids come in I show them a few cityscapes (which show the buildings as silhouettes). We discuss how to cut out interesting shapes out of black construction paper... then the kids go to work cutting and gluing!
Each week I teach this lesson I am amazed by their creativity with this! I get silhouettes of Spongebob's house, the statue of liberty, skyscrapers, and other famous buildings - and the kids are SO excited as they work!
If we have time after they finish their cityscapes we play a game of 'Simon Says' with the line types they learned (they LOVE this too)!
Ohhhhh so much fun in the art room! :)
BTW - I love my job!


  1. These came out awesome!

  2. I love this idea! I'm a volunteer art docent for my sons 2nd grade class and we will be using this idea combined with studying Philip Evergood's "Sunny Side of the Street". Thank you for sharing! Little second graders in Poulsbo, Washington will have fun with this tomorrow.