Lessons 9-11: Landscapes
Students glued copies of landscapes by Erika Klein and Vincent van Gogh side-by-side in their sketch book. In an inquiry-based discussion comparing the two works, students concluded that these two drawings are landscapes (Klein’s a cityscape and Van Gogh’s a landscape). They noted that Klein’s work is abstract and Van Gogh’s was drawn from observation. Students recognized that both artists used ranges of values in their drawings.
The teaching artist informed the class that they would be creating small sketches of a tree and one building. She advised them not to draw in a stylized way. To define stylized art, she drew “lollypop trees”. Then, looking at a photograph of a tree, drew a realistic representation. Students compared the two trees and were able to see the difference between a tree drawn from observation and a tree drawn in a stylized way.
The teaching artist reviewed three goals students should keep in mind as they worked:
- Draw from observation using what they previously learned about composition, drawing, and value.
- Pay attention to scale and light source.
- Avoid stylization (no sun in the corner).
Students then went outdoors to draw their landscapes from observation.
After completing their landscapes, students chose either their tree or building drawing to enlarge. The teaching artist selected a student’s sketch to demonstrate the way an artist translates a smaller sketch and into a larger drawing.
She also introduced a new medium – vine charcoal – and demonstrated how it differs from a pencil. The students quickly discovered as they worked that they cannot erase charcoal. Though they struggled a bit at first, students quickly saw the benefits when they started shading their drawings. The teaching artist asked everyone to select a directional light source and shade their drawings according to that light source. As the students worked, she circulated about the room providing constructive feedback.
The teaching artist guided a discussion about the differences between working in pencil and vine charcoal. Students responded that they could build a variety of values faster with charcoal, but the pencil allows for more precision. They also noticed that their hands got messier using charcoal.
For the final session, students were randomly assigned a partner for whom they would provide constructive feedback. After they completed the critique, they reflected on their accomplishments and struggles. They agreed that they learned a lot as artists.