Abstract Art
Marble Roll Painting

by Susan Suiter Matoes

abstract marble painitng
abstract marble painitng
Click on image to see it larger


Objective: To help students understand the concept of abstract art (creating art without attempting to represent images realistically). Also to introduce the terms: line, cool colors, warm colors, texture, and space. (State Framework Grade Two: 1.3, 2.2, 2.4, 3.1, 4.4)


Preparation: Go to the library and check out several books with examples of abstract art. Define and discuss this type of art with the children. Show various examples of paintings in this style from the books.


  1. This project can be done in a small group with an adult (if you have a small number of pans), or in partners, with one child painting and the other watching (if you have enough pans for half the class).
  2. Teacher demonstrates putting the paper in the bottom of the pan then adding 3 to 4 dots of paint in various warm &/or cool colors. She then drops a marble in the pan and begins tipping the pan to roll the marble through the dots of paint, creating lines of color.
  3. Teacher should discuss the concepts of line, texture, and space while demonstrating. It is important to stop rolling the marble before all the white space is gone. The whole paper does not need to be covered with paint.
  4. Teacher passes out pans, paper, paint and marbles. Students create, as demonstrated by the teacher.
  5. When finished, students remove painting from pan to dry. They put their marble in the bowl of water to be washed later.
  6. If the paintings are placed on the floor or carpet to dry, students may gather around to discuss observations and give compliments to each other.
  7. When the paintings are dry, an odd number of jewels may be glued on randomly to provide more interest and texture. Children have a difficult time gluing them on randomly, without representing a pattern or design. It may be helpful for them to close their eyes and put 5 dots of glue anywhere on their painting, then open their eyes and stick a jewel on to each glue dot.
  8. This is a great project for the front of holiday cards!


© Deborah Padrick 2003