Horace Pippin

An art-making workshop designed for students Grades 3-6, based on The Domino Players, (1943) by Horace Pippin (1888-1946)


  1. to engage and enthuse the students, by bringing to life one of Horace Pippin’s best- known paintings
  2. to increase the students’ powers of observation and practice art skills and techniques
  3. to emulate Pippin's self-taught philosophy of "painting things exactly as I see them" and encourage the students to have confidence in creating their own personal style

Props and Materials for the Living Painting:

  1. large painted backdrop of The Domino Players(9’x7’)
  2. a rocking chair
  3. 2 wooden chairs
  4. 2 stools
  5. a large table
  6. costumes (i.e. long skirts, spotted shirt, cloth caps etc.)
  7. oil lamp
  8. alarm clock
  9. patchwork quilt
  10. needle
  11. thread
  12. scissors
  13. red, black and gray swatches of fabric
  14. Tempera paint: red, black, white, brown, yellow, blue, green
  15. paintbrushes of assorted sizes
  16. large sheets white drawing paper
  17. large poster of The Domino Players


An area of the classroom to be set up to imitate the setting of Pippin's The Domino Players. Time suggested at least 1 hour, ideally 2-3 hours.

In contrast to the slide presentation segment of this program, this "hands-on" activity will serve as a positive contrast and offer the class the opportunity for physical expression.

Four students will be selected (3 girls and 1 boy) to imitate Pippin's characters in the piece. Students will dress as the characters and assume the poses of the people in the painting.

When the 'actors' have taken their places, the class will paint what they see, attempting to utilize the style and techniques employed by Pippin himself, i.e. drawing with strong, bold black outlines and whole areas of color. They will be encouraged to observe and draw the distinct shapes, patterns and contrasts of the piece.

Active participation of students makes learning an enjoyable and concrete experience. Pippin was a self-taught painter and students will be encouraged to work as Pippin did, i.e. painting as they see it and thereby developing their own personal style.

At some stage in the proceedings allow the students to imitate Pippin's painting technique of supporting his right arm with his left hand, (he sustained an bad injury to his shoulder during WW1.) They will better understand how committed he must have been as an artist in order to complete all his work in this way and enjoy the challenge !!

If photographs can be taken throughout the workshop they will serve as an exciting stimulus, particularly if taken with a digital camera, put onto a computer and shown to students at the end of the workshop. Children love to see themselves at work and since there are live models to work from it is an excellent opportunity to engage the enthusiasm of models and painters alike.