Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Colourful cows, like Peter Diem

You need:

  1. white painting sheet A3 size or a canvas
  2. acrylic paint
  3. brushes
  4. jar with water
  5. paper towels

Peter Diem (1945) is a Dutch painter. Diem, born from a Dutch father and a German mother, came in Amsterdam at the age of 3. He had a difficult childhood in which the people of Amsterdam showed they were not charmed by Germans so soon after the Second World War. After highschool Diem went to a school for graphic design to study graphic work. Through several European countries Diem landed in the 70's in the USA, where he married and had children. Halfway through the 90's he returned to the Netherlands and settled with his Diem Museum on the Prinsengracht Amsterdam.

Diem is inspired by the CoBrA Group ( a group of artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam - see also my lesson about CoBrA artist Corneille). His style is abstract and expressive. He brings the paint thick on the canvas, sometimes directly from the tube. With brush, knife and fingers the bright coloured paint is spread across the canvas. 'Diem paints like a tornado, he lives his art'. Themes in his work are flying cows, Napoleon, Africa and Ernest Hemingway.

Show artwork of Diem on the digital board. Pictures are to be found on Diem's website or use the Google picture viewer and look for Peter Diem. Discuss Diem's work:

  • subject, Diem paints often cows
  • use of bright colours
  • simplicity of the image
  • thick black contour lines
  • no white spots anymore
  • the cow is full screen
Show students how to draw a simplified cow, by drawing a cow on the digital board (click on the picture to enlarge). Let the children draw a picture of a simple cow. They have to sketch thin, without drawing many details. The cow has to be painted with acrylic paint, considering the features of Diem's work. Paint a background. Outline the cow with black paint and a small brush. This will also eliminate the unevenness. And of course the work has to be signed, just like Diem does!

All artworks are made by students grade 5