My 5th grade students studied the vibrant, stylized landscape paintings of Canadian artist Ted Harrison. They discovered he fell in love with the sweeping, layered vistas in the Canadian Yukon and made it his life’s work to capture their majesty in his bold paintings. After viewing a Powerpoint showing examples of his work, learning about his life, and studying real photographs of the Yukon landscape, students were ready to get to work.
We imagined how it would feel looking out across the mountains, noticing how the layers in each painting help to give each work depth and show perspective. They also saw how Harrison used stylized wavy lines to give the illusion of space.
Students used pencils to sketch out their wavy landscape designs, which were then traced over with white glue and left to dry. The next class, chalk pastels were dipped into starch to give a brighter look and cut down on the dust. The students were very proud of their bright, bold landscapes and their success at using varied lines to create depth. Check out some more colorful examples!
Inspired by this lesson from the Crayola website.
Last year my 3rd graders created winter landscapes inspired by Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. This quiet, simple story filled with descriptive language and metaphors, as well as the muted watercolor illustrations, alludes to the stillness of a winter’s night and the magical feeling a child gets when going on a special adventure for the first time. The story always gives me goosebumps. We watched the video version of the book as an introduction for the lesson.
Afterwards, students created a watercolor wash for the background, using the cool winter colors found in the story. After painting, salt was sprinkled over the paper to create additional texture. The next class, students viewed photos of winter tree silhouettes and used recycled cardboard to print a winter tree and snow. Q-tips were used to create falling snow and the owls sitting on the branches. We used white tempera paint but I would recommend acrylic if available as it would be more opaque. Each student’s winter landscape looked as quiet and peaceful as the story.
Inspired by this project found on Kids Artists.
This Kindergarten project from last year went along the same lines as my PreK’s winter mural. Again we read the book Little Tree by e.e. cummings, which has lovely watercolor illustrations. Students used soft, cool colors to paint a winter sky using a watercolor wash technique. Everyone was so quiet and focused as they painted their papers. Their favorite part was sprinkling on a little salt to give it a sparkly, unique texture. The next class students learned how to cut two triangles from one square shape. After they had a pile of triangles going, they glued on rectangle trunks to their watercolor paintings and built their trees on top. They ripped some white tissue paper pieces for a snowy texture. The last class, we read Snow by Cinthia Rylant, a book with descriptive, poetic verses of all the different types of snow. Students printed snow flakes using a q-tip onto their turquoise papers, the perfect frame for their peaceful winter landscapes. Notice the tiny, cozy cabin one of my kiddos added to hers.