These Pop Art heart paintings by first and second grade students, painted in mid-February in honor of Valentine's Day, were inspired by the art of Jim Dine and Wayne Thiebaud. I introduced the lesson by showing students copies of several works by these two artists. I asked them to describe what they saw and to make any comments they wanted about their observations. I pointed out how the repeated shapes in these works were painted with slightly different colors or patterns and explained that they were going to do a Pop Art painting of hearts. It seemed appropriate to do something with hearts since it was February, and this activity took the hearts out of the cliche realm.
>To lay out their designs, students were able to cut and trace their own hearts or to trace hearts that I provided. First grade students used larger hearts and were asked to trace four on the page; second grade students were asked to trace six. I initially wanted all the students to cut out their own hearts so they would be really different, but I discovered that this was more problematic than I expected with some of the students and turned out taking more time than I thought it would. Since my classes are only an hour, I was glad that I had thought to cut some of my own hearts "just in case." After a couple of classes, I offered the hearts for tracing as a first choice, and anyone who wanted to cut their own was invited to do so.
Because I wanted students to focus on subtle differences in color and patterns or brush treatments, and because this was the first painting they had done this year, I had them use just two primary colors and white to create as many different variations in color as possible. I modeled for them how to outline each heart first with a narrow brush, and then challenged them to paint each of their hearts a different way or with a different color or pattern. I teach at three schools, for a total of six first grade classes and eight second grade classes with approximately twenty students each, so after two weeks of heart painting, I was pretty much on heart overload, but I am pleased to report that collectively we ended up with approximately 1200 differently-painted hearts!