Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pumpkin Paintings inspired by Yayoi Kusama

This project is not only seasonal and fun, but it packs in lots of learning. To begin, we observed small pumpkins and drew thumbnail sketches on our Pumpkin Painting Planning & Reflection Sheets (now available as a FREE download in my Teachers pay Teachers shop).
We also studied the color wheel and selected a complementary(opposite) or an analogous(next to) color scheme and wrote it down on our planning sheet. Mixing colors in our color wheel trays was a fun challenge, and students examined some of Yayoi Kusama's amazing pumpkin art - paintings, sculptures, installations - to see how she creates optical illusions with her rows of large and small dots.

Contour lines complete - stippling, or painting with dots, is next...

Once the dots are complete, we create contrast in the background with neutral colors and geometric shapes, adding emphasis to our bold, bright, organic pumpkin forms. Students answered reflection questions about craftsmanship and artist choices, and finally uploaded them to Artsonia. Beautiful seasonal works and lots of great art learning!


  1. aack! these are fantastic! love all the layers and techniques you are teaching the children. thank you for sharing!

  2. Can you please expand on a few things:
    1) What size and kind of paper did you use?
    2) Acrylic or tempera paint?
    3) How many class periods did it take.
    These are FANTASTIC. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Andrea - We used 9x12" construction paper and liquid tempera paint. If I remember correctly, we spent one 45 minute class looking at her artwork and doing a planning sheet. The second class we painted the pumpkin and started the background shapes with sharpies and colored pencils. the Third week we cut, glued, and did our reflection. I am sure we had a few finishing up the following week as well, but the majority were done in three full 45 minute sessions.


Comments are very appreciated - thanks for stopping by!