Lesson 2: Beach textures (free lesson)

Pupils use a range of materials, from cardboard to foil, to replicate the textures found at the seaside. Easy to adapt to other landscapes.

Before the lesson


This lesson is based on the artist Vincent Van Gogh.


  • Teacher video: Beach textures
Teacher video: Beach textures

Image copyright: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Bridgeman Images

Have ready

  • Presentation: ‘Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer’ by Vincent Van Gogh (see Attention grabber)
  • Activity: ‘Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer’ by Vincent Van Gogh (see Classroom resources) – one per pupil, printed in black and white
  • Scrap materials
  • Blue cellophane
  • Tin foil
  • Cotton wool
  • Sand, lentils, rice
  • PVA glue and spreaders
  • Scissors
  • Link: ‘Children at the beach’ on VideoLink

Download classroom resources

Activity: 'Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer' by Vincent Van Gogh
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Learning objective

  • Exploring different textures

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space
  • Learn about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work

Success criteria

  • I can identify different textures in a scene
  • I can find appropriate materials to create different textures and apply appropriate textures to a well known painting

Cross-curricular links


  • Describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials

Attention grabber

Display the Presentation: ‘Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer’ by Vincent Van Gogh.  If possible, play the link: ‘Children at the beach’ on VideoLink whilst looking at the painting.

Ask the pupils to get into pairs (or put them into pairs) and ask them to identify all the things they can hear and see (seagulls, children, boats).

Presentation: Vincent Van Gogh's 'Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer'

Display the presentation on your interactive whiteboard.

Explain that in this lesson the children are going to try to produce the textures that they would find at the beach.

Main event

Hand out the black and white photocopy of the Activity: ‘Fishing Boats on the Beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer’ by Vincent Van Gogh (one per pair of pupils). Ask them to think about how different areas of the picture would feel, asking them questions to develop their thinking:

  • What would the sand feel like compared to the sea?
  • How would the boat feel compared to the sky?

Demonstrate to the class how to create a texture on top of the photocopy by gluing down a layer of sand or split lentils, then dabbing on different colours to make it look like a pebble beach. You can also show how to stick blue cellophane or tissue paper over the sky. 

In pairs, ask the children to select and cut materials into the shapes they see on the picture or apply PVA and add sand or other textures to fill areas of the image.

Encourage them to talk to peers on their table about their work, including explaining what materials they have chosen to use and why, and the sounds that these textures can create.

Explain that it is not too important to get the exact shapes of the Van Gogh painting, instead, they should focus on getting the textures right and describing them using appropriate vocabulary.


Pupils needing extra support: Might need help matching the correct textures to the different areas of the picture. 

Pupils working at greater depth: Should use a range of appropriate materials to create the correct textures from the image, applying them accurately and carefully.

Wrapping up

Ask pupils to look at their work and consider whether they have all used the same materials for the same areas on the painting. Use this to get them thinking about and then explain why they used a particular texture for an area of the painting.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Using appropriate textures, quantifying their decisions for using them.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: A sophisticated use of textures, using greater care and attention to detail and skill when applying them.


  • Horizon

  • Landscape

  • Beach

  • Sea

  • Texture

Created by:
Paul Carney,  
Art & Design specialist
Paul has 22 years experience of teaching art as a specialist subject in both Primary and Secondary schools. He is a council member with the National Society for Education and his expertise has led him to deliver CPD for leading…
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