This project is about creating texture through paint. The Impressionists used a technique called “impasto”, using thick paint on the canvas in such a way that the texture was very apparent and purposeful.
When I first did this lesson several years ago, I followed the lesson idea from the book Discovering Great Artists closely. You can still find that video in this post, but I’ve also included a new video that suggests a different method. I find using this new lesson (using just joint compound to thicken paint) better teaches the Impressionist’s technique and is a more realistic experience for students to discover Morisot’s style.
Below you will find lesson plans as well as downloadable line drawings of some of her paintings. The students will use the textured paint to fill in these images. Because the paint is so thick, it is best to do this project in the beginning of the day so it has lots of time to dry.
I’m super excited that Van Gogh is part of our great artists line up this year. Talk about a famous artist. His work also provides a link in the chain of how we got from realistic artwork to abstraction in the early 1900s, which is a great topic of conversation.
This project walks students through replicating Van Gogh’s famous painting Starry Night. I love that we learned about astronomy this year, and can connect our knowledge about stars and phases of the moon to this painting. Students can even arrange the stars in the painting into their favorite constellation!
The new school year is at my family’s doorstep, and I’m beginning to shift my thoughts from summer vacation back to homeschooling and lesson planning. With the 5th edition Foundations Guide changes, I know that many of you have also been planning ahead and wondering if I will have new lessons focused on the new guide.
As I looked through, I decided that I will not be adding new lessons for weeks 1-6. The drawing lessons for weeks 3-6 still correlate to the guide for that week, so that leaves weeks 1 and 2, which I had connected to the science memory work. The drawing lesson for week 1 focuses on animals and insects, which can now be related to the days of creation. The lesson for week 2 is a bear drawing, and bears can be found in almost every biome, from Giant Pandas in the tropical rainforest, to Polar Bears in the arctic tundra. I feel like its a good fit!
My plan for the next few weeks is to put out a few videos exploring how to prioritize great conversation in our art lessons. And, of course, I’ll update any necessary changes to the great artists lesson plans later in the year, most likely in the beginning of December.
I hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of summer. I sure plan to!
Ghiberti’s masterpiece, dubbed the “Gates of Paradise”, are beautiful relief panels adorning the doors of the Baptistry of San Giovanni in Florence. It took over twenty years for Ghiberti to complete this project! He first carved wax molds, then cast them in bronze, and then polished, sanded, and incised details. Finally, he covered them with a layer of gold. Twenty years on the same project takes a lot of dedication!
Our twenty-first century replica is to use wax wikki stix, dull pencils, and aluminum foil to create the same thing in half an hour. Well, maybe not the same thing, but you get the idea. Continue Reading →
This week students will practice the concept of one-point perspective drawing. This is hard to fit into our unit on ancient art because early civilizations tended to create flattened images with little to no depth. In fact, the use of perspective in painting wasn’t seen until the 15th century in Italy. But, of course, ideas travel…
The first use of mathematical perspective in Japanese art can easily be seen in woodblock prints by Hokusai and Hiroshige in the 1800s. They use very strong, clean lines that create dynamic depth and perspective. You can use the following images to show your students an early Japanese painting with some depth but no one-point perspective, and the later prints that do have one-point perspective. (I often put images in a Powerpoint presentation and use my laptop to present images in class rather than printing them all out)
Though the arts and ethnic groups of Africa are vast, one common trait is the making of masks. Even within this commonality, African masks can land on a broad spectrum from representational to completely abstract. In this lesson we will look at abstracted masks from the regions of Ancient Mali and Ghana (week 14 history sentence and geography) as well as other cultures surrounding those areas. Even though we will study and gain inspiration from their designs, students are in no way expected to copy them.
What we do want students to learn from this lesson:
What the term “abstract” means
How to create an emphasis in an abstract deisgn
How to gain inspiration from other work, but change it to make it our own
Just like the ancient Egyptians, the Maya had a written language that was based on symbols and pictures. The images used in their writing are complex and in fact required artists to accomplish them. In this way, scribes always had to be artists, and their word for “scribe” reflected this: t’zib means both artist and scribe! (This makes me think of modern-day calligraphy: the melding of written language and art).
For this week’s upside-down drawing, I used the Mayan symbol for chocolate. This article and fabulous video talk about the Mayan language, and also decode the glyph for “chocolate”. It’s super fun and interesting! Continue Reading →
I think categorizing Jim Davis as a “Great Artist” is a stretch. Famous cartoonist? Yes. Up there with O’Keeffe and Pollock? Not so much. Luckily, the next edition of the Foundations Guide does not include him in the curriculum, so you don’t have to listen to me rant and rave about the subject.
This lesson is super simple. Focusing on OiLS (the drawing concepts from week one), have students design a cartoon character. I suggest having them pick an animal as their character. Use the following lesson plan and handouts as a guide. Students can copy the facial features, or create their own. Once designed, put the character into comic strip form. If time, kids can color their comic strip, or present their work to the group.
This will probably be one of your students’ favorite projects this year! Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings, inspired by comic strips, are colorful and bold and kids can immediately connect with his style.
Lichtenstein’s paintings were large-scale, exaggerating the Ben-Day dot technique used to print colors at the time. We’ll use Q-tips and tempera paint to mimic the look, and also look at color schemes that work well with our pop art project. Continue Reading →
Andrew Wyeth has been one of my favorite artists for a long while now. For some reason I’m drawn to his melancholy, quiet pieces. Is that weird? Maybe a sign of deeper psychological issues? I don’t know, but I do like his stuff.
Like Wyeth, we’ll be painting with watercolors. This medium is a challenge, but we’re going to keep it simple. A little color mixing and a few painting techniques, and voila! a melancholy, dreary landscape. What’s not to love? Continue Reading →
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