Rhythm and Repetition Painting Art Lesson

Rhythm Repetition Watercolor Painting Art lessonRhythm and Repetition Painting Art Lesson

Grades: 4-8th

This art lesson on rhythm and repetition was inspired by an exercise in the book “Hooked on Drawing” by Sandy Brooke (pages 32-34). My 7-8th grade art class did this project. It is important to note here that they could not trace the actual object to create a stencil, they had to look at the object and draw it onto cardboard. The rule in my class is that you can not trace unless it is YOUR drawing!


  • Student will learn that artist use visual rhythm to create a feeling of movement in a piece of art.
  • They will demonstrate understand of visual rhythm by creating an original piece of art that shows rhythm being achieved through the repetition of the elements of art.


Pre-cut Poster board (8.5×11″), 12×18″ 90lb+ paper, watercolors


  1. Introduction: Music rhythm-have students give an example of rhythm in music (tapping on the table). Visual rhythm may be best understood by relating it to rhythm in sound. There are parallels between rhythm in music and art: repetition of notes (a “beat”) in music or a color or shape (the elements) in art-patterns of notes or the elements repeated. There is also an arousing of the senses in both-hearing in music and sight in art. Through both art and music a feeling of order or predictability is created through rhythm.
  2. What is visual rhythm? A visual tempo or beat. The principle of design that refers to a regular repetition of elements of art to produce the look and feel of movement. It is often achieved through the careful placement of repeated components which invite the viewer’s eye to jump rapidly or glide smoothly from one to the next.
  3. Rhythm originated in the Greek word rhymthmos, meaning measured flow, which they passed into Latin as rhythmus, meaning movement in time. Its first uses in English were literary, in reference to themetrical rhyming of verses. English speakers began to use rhythm concerning repetition of musical beats in the late 18th century, and about visual elements in the same period.
  4. How is visual rhythm achieved: Rhythm is achieved through the repetition of the elements of art (line, shape, color, etc.)

ACTIVITY: Rhythm and Repetition Painting

  1. Choose one object to draw.
  2. On a sheet of poster board draw an outline of your object in 2 different sizes (not touching each other). Cut the pieces out.
  3. Use the “stencils” of your object to draw the object repeatedly 12-15 times on a sheet of 12×18” watercolor paper. Overlap the shapes.
  4. Outline all lines in sharpie. Add details to all the objects.
  5. Use watercolors to paint background cool colors & objects warm colors. Change color or value every time you encounter a new shape.
  6. Variations on Project:
    1. Black & white objects against a color background
    2. Zentangles on the objects color background
    3. Zentangle background and color objects
    4. Choose one object to be in black & white, the rest is all in color (to create Emphasis)Rhtyhm and repetition watercolor painting

This post was written by Michelle C. East 2017 (All rights reserved).  If you choose to use any of this lesson (written or photos), please link back to this blog Create Art with ME!

One Response
  1. Melissa

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