Let’s learn about the famous African-America artist Alma Woodsey Thomas and create our own art inspired by her colourful circles.
Alma Woodsey Thomas art lesson for children
Join our art lesson to learn about the African-American artist Alma Woodsey Thomas, see examples of her work, and create your own artwork inspired by her.
This project is part of our art lessons about famous artists.
In this article you can:
:: learn about famous African-American artist Alma Woodsey Thomas
:: see examples of her art
:: create your own art inspired by her using a printing technique
:: find links to other famous artist lessons
Ready-made famous art lessons for children
Use our ready-made art lesson plans to make art with Faith Ringgold, Alma Woodsey Thomas, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami and many more.
- A diverse art curriculum featuring contemporary artists of colour from four continents
- Biographical and art history information for every artist
- Step-by-step lesson plans for every one of the 25 art projects
- Material lists for each project, which use basic art supplies
- Full colour photographs throughout, showing process steps and finished projects
:: piece of white card
:: paint in a variety of bright colours
:: paint brush, finger, or rectangular stamp (such as a rectangular eraser or Lego® brick)
:: Christmas Bauble printable, if you are joining this lesson as part of NurtureStore’s Ten Days of Christmas Art Baubles
Meet famous artist Alma Woodsey Thomas
Alma Woodsey Thomas was an African-American artist born in Columbus, Georgia in 1891. She is known for her colourful, abstract paintings.
She taught art in a Black junior high school in Washington, D.C. At that time schools in the United States of America were segregated, meaning Black and White children attended different schools.
Alma Woodsey Thomas taught in the same school, in fact in the same classroom, for 35 years. While there she also started a community arts programme and organised the first art gallery in Washington public schools by arranging the loan of paintings by Black artists from the Howard Gallery of Art.
Later in her life she continued her study of art, taking night and weekend classes at the American University. After her retirement from the school she became a full-time artist, particularly focusing on the use of colour theory. She said, “Through colour I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness in my painting”.
She was the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and the First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, chose an Alma Woodsey Thomas painting to display in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House.
She is an important role model particularly for women, African Americans, and older artists.
Examples of Alma Woodsey Thomas’s art
Take a look at these examples of Alma Woodsey Thomas’s art. As you look at them, answer these questions:
:: What can you see?
:: What shapes can you see?
:: What colours can you see?
:: What does the painting make you think of?
Children’s art project inspired by Alma Woodsey Thomas
Our art project inspired by Alma Woodsey Thomas will be using three key elements of her style:
:: bright coloured paint
:: concentric rings
:: pattern made from repeating rectangular shapes
If you are joining us from our Ten Days of Christmas Art Baubles project you can see how to use this lesson to make an Alma Woodsey Thomas inspired bauble below.
Begin with a sheet of white paper or card.
In the centre, paint a circle in your choice of paint.
If you want to, you can use a pencil to make guide marks. Draw a series of concentric rings, centred on your first circle, in light pencil. Alternatively you can just work by eye.
Then, in another colour of your choice, use a stamp to print a ring of shapes around your central circle. You might find it easier to make the ring if you turn (rotate) your piece of paper.
You can use a paint brush, your finger or rectangular stamp (such as a rectangular eraser or Lego brick) to create your ring.
Continue to choose colours and stamp more rings until you have filled the page.
Work from the centre outwards, adding larger, concentric rings as you move to the edge of the paper.
Alma Woodsey Thomas Christmas bauble craft
Join our Ten Days of Christmas Art Baubles and create an Alma Woodsey Thomas bauble!
Use our Christmas bauble printable in place of a piece white card to create your art.
Use your choice of colours and rectangular stamp to print concentric rings on the bauble, beginning in the centre and filling the bauble to the edges.
Cut out the bauble from the printable and hang it up on the wall or Christmas tree as part of your Christmas art decorations.
>>> NurtureStore is hosting ten days of art lessons making Christmas art baubles, with ten different designs inspired by famous art and interesting process art techniques. We’re learning about Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky, Yayoi Kusama, Georges Seurat, and Alma Woodsey Thomas, plus exploring marbling, wax resist, squeegee art, printing and collage techniques.
More ready-made art lessons about famous artists
Use our Exploring Great Artists lesson plans to teach a full programme of art lessons based on famous artists. Your children can learn art history while making their own art inspired by the famous artists of the world. All the projects use simple materials, introduce children to interesting art techniques, and can be done in school or at home. See more details and get your copy of Exploring Great Artists here.
Plus, enrich to your art lessons with our Diversify Your Art Curriculum resources, featuring ready-made lessons on contemporary artists of colour from four continents. Great projects your children will love! See more details and get your copy of Diversify Your Art Curriculum here.