( 46 x 61
• oil pastels
• brushes and
For example, loud electric guitar
music might imply bright orange
or black, while gentle flute music
might imply pale blue or white. The
word “silly” might have an upward,
the word “sad”
might have a
young students can intuitively pick
up on this artistic insight.
shapes that their line compositions
may have spontaneously formed.
Have them fill in these shapes with
values of oil pastels. They can then
fill in other areas with watercolor if
This is also a quintessential The last step
project for any special needs incorporates the use of black
class. It is process-oriented, oil pastel for
not product-oriented. contrast. Have
of the one word that describes how
they are feeling right now. Tell
them to place that line quality or
shaped section in black somewhere
on their composition. They can fin-
ish by adding other touches of black
oil pastel for contrast and balance.
sions of pleasure and contentment.
Perhaps most importantly, it allows
the child to express himself or herself in a nonthreatening and non-judgmental environment, and have
a mastery experience while doing
Feldman, Edmund Burke. Varieties
of Visual Experience. New York:
Harry N. Abrams, 1992.
Kandinsky, Wassily. Concerning
the Spiritual in Art. New York:
The Nonobjective Self-Portrait
Turn down the lights in the room to
create an inward, rather than outward, focus. Have students silently
begin drawing line qualities, based
on words that you name and music
that you play. Change the music
quality every five minutes. Their
line qualities will change along
with the music. Lines should overlap and go off all sides of the page.
Work with large paper and freely.
Demonstrate how to use oil
pastels and watercolors, blending
values of light, medium, and dark
of each color. Ask students to find
Tracy Ellyn is an art teacher at Ammons
Middle School in Miami, Florida, and
a contributing editor for SchoolArts.
Adaptations for Special Needs
This is also a quintessential project
for any special needs class. It is process-oriented, not product-oriented.
It engages and amazes the child
with its cause and effect relationships and the discovery of the materials themselves. The delightful
stimulation of the visual, auditory,
and kinesthetic/tactual sensations
will give the child physical impres-
Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and
processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.