Driftwood and Seashells is an oil painting I did many years ago and recently it became an inspiration for 2 art assignments for my 5th and 6th grade student.
Often I like to open the school year with observational drawing. In previous years I have usually done this with leaves as an inspiration. I thought about substituting the shells in our compositions instead of the usual leaves.
I didn't actually take the painting to school, but instead took a large basket of shells. Each class period we would lay them out on the supply table on top of a towel and the students would take one back to their desk to observe and draw. If they liked doing that particular shell, they could draw it a second or third time and make it in different sizes or draw it from new angles. This way of composing worked very well. On the second and third day of doing this, I encouraged everyone to make the last few shells touch or overlap.
The fifth grade classes finished them off with an imaginative background of patterns. The sixth grade used a sandy beach and a swirling ocean theme when painting the background. All the children came up with very nice compositions and it made a great display in the hallway.