“The difference between false memories and true memories is the same as for jewels: It is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.” -Salvador Dali
4th graders have seemed to enjoy learning all about surreal artist, Salvador Dali, these last couple of weeks. I have always had one of Salvador’s famous paintings, The Persistence of Memory, hanging in my classroom, so it was fun for the kids to suddenly recognize that poster, artist, and story. We discussed surrealism, dream-like, crazy, and unusual art and took a very close look at Salvador’s painting “The Elephants.” These stilt-like elephants served as our inspiration for this project.
First, we sketched out the bodies of our elephants. We made the legs long, skinny, bended, and exaggerated. This was what made our paintings surreal. Next, we outlined our elephants using black marker.
After this was complete, I showed students how to use oil pastels and blend a bright background. We made stripes in the sky using purple, pink, orange/red, and gold. We blended each stripe into each other to create a faded sunset effect.
After we finished with our sunsets, we took wet paintbrushes and painted in our elephants. This was a fun little trick. There was zero paint on our brushes. We simply brushed up against the marker outlines and spread the ink. This kept the elephants nice and light.
After this, we painted the ground and created shadows by making angular brushstrokes. We let our surreal elephants dry. Our last step was adding our embellishments. I set up a fabric and button station in the front of the room. Each table was called up to cut out rectangles out of fabric and select buttons. I used my hot glue gun to attach the heavy material.
Here are some finished surrealist elephants. I love how whimsical they are!
Have a great week!