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Sinbad The Sailor by Paul Klee

Sinbad The Sailor by Paul Klee

Paul Klee was born in Switzerland in 1879. He was a talented musician and artist, but decided to become an artist. During a trip to Tunisia, he became impressed by the quality of light there, and declared himself a painter, stating "Color and I are one. I am a painter." He worked with different media, and liked to combine them in one work. Klee became one of the best colorists of his time. A colorist is a painter able to achieve special effects with color. He was interested in the creativity in children's art and many of his works have a childlike quality. The painting of Sinbad the Sailor is based on the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, a fictional character whose adventures can be found in the book '1001 Arabian Nights'. It is believed that the painting is based on his third voyage, where he has to battle monsters.

Questions to Ask

What is the first thing that you see? This is the focal point. The focal point is what first draws your eye, something that stands out.

Paul Klee's paintings have been called childlike. What do you see in this painting that reminds you of a child's drawing? Is this a good description of this work?

What colors do you see? What effect does the use of color create in this painting? Hint — primary colors, focal point in whites and creams.

What does the light area surrounded by dark edges remind you of? Hint — maybe an island, something dark and scary out there, etc.

What shapes do you see? Which shape is repeated most often?

Discuss the animals. Do they look real or imaginary? Scary or friendly?

Activities for the Classroom

Additional resource video: Discussing the painting Sinbad the Sailor.

Prepare before the lesson: Fold a sheet of white paper 4 times to end up with 16 squares per page. Make one for each student. Let the students recreate the painting with crayons, covering the entire page with color, to show the effect of the folds.

Invite the students to share an imaginary place they thought about as young children.

Read a short story or poem about an imaginary place to the students. Have them draw how they see this place.

Read the story of Sinbad beforehand, then retell it to the students.

Using the 'Discovering Great Artists' book in the resource drawer, read pages 62 and 63, then let the children attempt a Klee inspired one line drawing based on the painting Sinbad the Sailor.

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