• Over Here, Over There

    Odili Donald Odita, Over Here, Over There. Acrylic on canvas, 84 x 104 inches. Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

  • In the Garden

    Romare Bearden, In the Garden from American Portfolio. Lithograph on paper, 28 3/4 x 21 1/4 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Lines and Landscapes

Visual Arts


1: A Colorful Time with Rhythm and Rhyme

2 45-minute lessons


What are lines?
What is an abstract painting?

I can cut different kinds of lines.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Direct Instruction

Discuss the artwork Over Here, Over There, by Odili Donald Odita.

  • What’s going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?

Paraphrase responses and point to areas of the image students discuss.

Now look at Romare Bearden’s In the Garden. Discuss how the images are the same and how they are different.

Introduce and define line. Discuss the different types of lines shown in artwork by having students identify the different types of lines they see. Some basic kinds of lines you can introduce include straight, zig-zag, wavy, curvy, thick, thin, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and angled. To reinforce an ELA connection, you can include these vocabulary words on a visual “word wall” of art terms. Show an example of each term next to the word.

Guided Practice / Application

Demonstrate for students the proper way to hold and use scissors. Show students how to cut a straight line first, then have them do it.

Continue to show first and have them do each of the following: zig-zag*, wavy, cut straight line then cut into bits to create dotted line.

*To prevent students from cutting a jagged edge or very small, uneven zig-zag, have them instead cut a zig-zig-zig, zag-zag-zag line.

Note: Some classes may need more time to cut the paper, as they are still developing these skill sets.

Have students arrange their cut pieces into a composition on a fresh sheet of paper. Have students glue their cut pieces to the paper.

Classroom Extension Ideas

Lines are all around us! After discussing lines in art class, play a game of I Spy, looking for different lines in the classroom. (“I spy a curvy, green line.”) Or you might explore the different kinds of lines that we can find in letters and numbers:

  • What kind of line is the letter s?
  • Which other letters have curvy lines?
  • Zig-zags?
  • Diagonal lines?

For individual practice, students can sort letter tiles or cards by type of line or draw an imaginary creature using a large letter as the outline.

Differentiation and Modifications:

Modification: Assist those who may not have the dexterity/capability to use scissors. Students who finish quickly may use crayons to add more lines to their artwork.


Art Rubric

Materials Needed

colored construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons


lines, straight, zig-zag, wavy, curvy, thick, thin, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, angled

Artwork in this Lesson

  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
    • Odili Donald Odita | Over Here, Over There
    • Romare Bearden | In the Garden