Shirley Huller White

Grade 9-12: Art Education

This lesson was developed in association with art educator Lotte Calnek.

All lessons presented here implement project and inquiry-based learning strategies, and meet or exceed Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework standards.

Artwork presented here may NOT be reproduced in any way.

Art Lesson/Unit: Grade Levels 9-12

Shattered Views – Shattered Values: A still-life value study adapted from a lesson created by art educator Ken Vieth

Enduring Understandings:

  • Cubism is an early twentieth-century art movement (led by Pablo Picasso and George Braque) that focuses on the abstract structure of pictorial elements by displaying several views or aspects of the subject matter simultaneously, and by fragmenting its form: the subject matter is broken up, analyzed, and reassembled in an abstract way.
  • Artists may study an art style like Cubism and use it as a source of inspiration to create new ways of looking at and making art.
  • Value is an element of art concerned with the degree of lightness and darkness of colors and neutral tones. A value scale can show these degrees in a gradation of value from white, to shades of gray, and black.

Essential Questions:

  • How may you use the characteristics of the Cubist art style to inspire your own work of art; in this case an observational drawing from still-life objects?
  • How may you plan and problem-solve your Cubist inspired artwork and composition with preliminary sketches?
  • How may you create an 8-step gray value scale, and how will it help you complete this project?

Exemplars and Inspirations:

This lesson is inspired by historical and contemporary examples of Cubist style artwork.

Materials and Techniques:

  • Graphite pencils ranging from HB - 6B
  • Sketchbooks or sketch paper, tracing paper
  • White drawing paper: 80lb preferred and should erase well
  • Kneaded erasers, tortillion (blending) sticks
  • View finder: students make thier own
  • Value, Contour Line, and Modeling Techniques: Hatching and Cross-Hatching Techniques
  • Observational and imaginative drawing techniques
  • A variety of objects for still-life arrangements: encourage students to bring in objects of their own to place in still-life


  • Students may choose an analytical/linear approach or create a more organic/freeform solution
  • Use everyday objects such as keys or other items that students may carry in their backpack