Heartfelt/Handmade Activities: Theorem Painting
Purpose: To help the students understand the style and techniques of self-taught artists such
as those who made theorem paintings.
Illinois State Musuem Web site used:
http://www.museum.state.il.us/vrmuseum/muslink/art/htmls/hh.html (Corbeile de Fruitire)
Objective: After viewing the theorem painting section of Folk Art, the students will create a the-
orem painting by following specified steps and discuss how painting techniques and styles have
changed in still-life painting for students.
Grade Level: K-6, adapting the choice of materials
and techniques
Time Required: one to two 50-minute periods
Materials: painting paper and pencil
a set of tempera or acrylic paints for
stamping (or stencil paints if affordable)
brushes (stencil or other stiff)
either purchased sponge shapes, foamcore
shapes, pre-cut stencils (depending on
(Alternatively, a collection of pictures of fruit,
foods, flowers, objects, could be cut
out and arranged and glued onto a drawing paper, using acrylic paint to modify the
motifs and add details and background.)
Motivation: Discuss with students the characteristics of theorem painting as they look at examples
of theorem still lifes. Brainstorm to compile a list of fruits, flowers, and types of containers to use
for a still life. The display of fruit, flowers, or food symbolizes abundance. What symbolizes abun-
dance today? Students may want to choose objects or natural forms from modern life for their
subject matter. Demonstrate the stencil technique (or stamping technique). Students can work from
the model of another theorem painting or print, or from the instructions and example.
Choose the still life you want to make (a print, online printout, drawing of an
Play with the arrangement of the fruit or other forms.
Choose colors for each motif.
Heartfelt/Handmade Activities: Theorem Painting--page 1