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Friedrich Hundertwasser (Dye and Colourflow)

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TEACHER: Rhonda Phynn

Duration: 7 sessions @ 1 hour 20 min.
Level/s: Unit can be taken at any level. This version is aimed at level 3/4.
Curriculum Links Specific Learning Outcomes

The Arts - Visual Art

PK: Students will apply knowledge of elements and principles to make objects and images and explore art-making conventions, using a variety of techniques, tools, materials, processes, and procedures.

DI: Students will generate and develop visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, using imagination, observation, and invention with materials.

CI: Students will describe how selected objects and images communicate different kinds of ideas.

UC: Understanding the Visual Arts in Context Students will investigate the purposes of objects and images in past and present and identify contexts in which they are or were made, viewed and valued.

Students will:

  • learn about colour, shape, space and pattern, and subject matter used by Hundertwasser.
  • discuss different ways the works of Hundertwasser. communicated his ideas and beliefs about the environment.
  • combine a variety of materials and techniques and use subject matter in response to the work of Hundertwasser.
Overall Success Criteria  

Students will have:

  1. successfully created a dye and colourflow image using Hundertwasser's approach to colour, shape, pattern and subject matter.
  2. enjoyed this unit.
Big Questions/Assessment Focus Question/s  
  1. Who was Friedrich Hundertwasser and what can you tell me about him?
  2. Name 3 characteristics of his work and what meaning they conveyed or why they were significant.
  3. What subject did the artist mostly draw and paint?
  4. What will happen to freshly painted dye if you paint your "next door colour"?


  • A1 cartridge with the top third cut off to make it a long rectangular shape or, smaller sized paper (landscape format).
  • Black vivids. Black colourflow (a substance made from P.V.A. glue and Indian ink. Can be purchased already mixed) and coloured dyes.
  • Apple Works programme or Paint for PC users
  • Digital camera to record work and make a slideshow.

Hundertwasser Architecture - Taschen

Hundertwasser (KunstHausWein) - Taschen Post cards, calendars, memorabilia from Hundertwasser shop in Kawakawa and other outlets.

Introduction for teachers

This is a self affirming unit which can be undertaken with almost any age group. It allows students to express freely their own ideas with no concept of right or wrong or what the final product must look like. This unit gives a detailed plan of a vivid and colourful work which, although very simple to produce, is very striking. To further complement the unit I have included photographs of additional Hundertwasser ideas which can be implemented using alternative media.

Professional reading

The large Hundertwasser architecture book gives a very comprehensive study of Hunderwasser, his life history, his artistic style and provides some superb illustrations.

Teaching and Learning Sequence


Pupil/Teacher discussion. Complete individual evaluation sheets . Self assessment.

Parental acknowledgement

Taking it further

This unit can be further developed using different media but based on the same concepts. Alternatively, the new optional approaches can be used after students have completed session two, when they have developed their own Hundertwasser type image. I have included labelled photographs to illustrate the different ideas and briefly tabloided the basic concepts and materials. Enjoy.

Collage  - Build Hundertwasser houses using coloured paper, tin foils of different colours and glitter. Draw a plan first and then begin the collage starting from the back buildings. Continue to build layers. A glue stick is tidier to use as adhesive rather than P.V.A. glue.

Painting  Emphasise the 3 "S" as mentioned above, vibrant colours and attention to detail.

Pastel  Limit colour palette to 3 colours to add emphasis to the structure.

Crayon  -  Teach blending skills first. Use white sugar or grey paper. Emphasise 3 "S".

Dioramas  - 3 pieces of thin card with back and front pieces the same size with middle piece being slightly smaller. Look at Hundertwasser's work and discuss his use of foreground, midground and background. Plan the picture, assigning each area to a relevant piece of card. Draw on with pencil and then colour using felts, crayolas water pencils or crayons (The example provided, was created using crayolas). Finish each card before moving to the next. Staple together on one side, then the other side allowing a gentle bend.

3D Construction Collect a variety of card and tubes e.g. used hand towel inner rolls. Paper cups and balloons are useful for towers. Bind together with masking tape and papier mache over with small strips of paper. Add plasticine for window frame shapes. Papier mache over these. To achieve a textured surface place, a final coat of toilet paper over the surface. Paint and decorate (This is a very time consuming activity).

Computer Imaging  -  Using Apple Works painting or Microsoft Paint create Hundertwasser influenced images selecting components from prepared drawings and using relevant media tools and colours.


Using a digital camera and GIF animator (free download from Microsoft), students take a series of photographs to create an animation.

  1. On an A4 page students draw the main buildings of their Hundertwasser pictures and anything else that is not part of the background and cut them out. These will be placed on a background that will move.
  2. Using coloured paper, students cut out the background by cutting wavy strips of paper in different shades of blue for the sky and greens for the grass and hills. The strips of paper used for the background must be long enough so that they can be moved across the page to create the illusion of movement (I suggest using A3 sheets of paper).
  3. Using another sheet of A4 paper place the strips of paper so they match up with one edge of the sheet. Place your cut out picture on top. Use blue tac to secure it to the background if necessary.
  4. Take a photo. The buildings remain stationery while the background moves.
  5. Students move the background strips of paper across slightly and take a photo to correspond with each movement they make.
  6. Students can take as many photos as they like depending on how much detailed movement they want (the greater number of photos taken the smoother the animation will be). It is recommended to take at least 20 photos. Each of the photos need to be renamed as GIFs - this will alter the quality of the photo giving it a grainer appearance and adding to the cartoonish feeling of the animation. The photos can then be opened in GIF Animator. If you open the last photo first and work your way to the first photo they will appear in the order you took them.
  7. Once you have done this select all the photos by clicking the Select All button. Click on the Image tab and change the duration to 20 (this can be played and experimented with). If you click on the Animation tab you can change the number of times the photos are repeated or loop it forever.

    The animations can be played in Media Player if you'd like to watch it on the whole screen. Go into your files, right click on the animation file, select Properties and click on Change next to Opens with and then select Windows Media Player. If you double click on the file now it will open in Media Player instead.

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