Art Reflects Life – Idea File

Students explore how art reflects life by making a collage about what is important to them in their lives.
Grades: 4-8

Painting: Dionisio Ceballos video Segment

Teaching Concepts:

  • Artists use their own interests as subject matter for their art.
  • The design principle of balance refers to the visual equalization of the elements in a work of art and can be achieved through asymmetry, symmetry, or radial balance.
  • A collage is a work of art made by attaching pieces of paper or other materials to a flat surface.

Academic Content

  • Visual Art: principles of design (balance), art processes (two-dimensional)

Lesson Idea
Discuss: In the video segment, painter Dionisio Ceballos talks about the way his art reflects the phases of his life and what was important to him at various times. He mentions how getting married changed the topics in his painting. Ask students to think about important aspects of their lives. What people, books, theater, sports, and activities are most important to them right now?

Create: Provide students with magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. Ask them to cut out pictures and words representing this current stage in their lives. They should cut out items of importance reflecting family, hobbies, school, sports, etc. Invite them to add photos or drawings of important people in their lives. Discuss the design principle of balance and the three forms of balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial). Then have students arrange a balanced composition on a heavy sheet of paper.

Expand: Have students share their collages with an older family member—a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent. Students should share why different items were included in the collage and invite the adults to tell about their childhood. What items might have been included in the adult’s collage at the same age? Would the adult’s collage look different today? In what ways?

Author: Adapted from a lesson by Cindy Merk

See more resources for:


See more resources about:

K-12The Arts