medium: pencil drawing/oil pastel drawing on all media paper
Vocabulary science: coastal region, satellite photo, Pacific Ocean, Bay Area, Wetlands, Redwoods art: main lines, horizon, proportions
Science Curriculum identifying some of the major physical features found in the coastal region where we live.
Resources Material per student: one printed color photo of a landscape, letter size and protected in a plastic sleeve, all media paper, pencil, eraser, a black oil pastel.
Instructions: 1. Power point presentation
I try to always use what is close to where my students live. In the Bay Area, I propose to the students to work from photos I have taken and printed, about the three major types of landscapes one can find around here: coastal, mountains and wetlands. They can recognize the places in some cases, we talk about places to go visit and it’s the occasion for an interesting exchange. Then, using a satellite photo of the Bay Area, the students can point the different places where the photos were taken.
We look at a series of photos of the main types of landscapes in the area.
Questions: Can you describe them? Do you know where the photo was taken?
From left to right: Henri Coe State Park (left), the Wetlands in Sunnyvale (right), the Pacific Ocean at Natural Bridges State Park, Santa Cruz.
We look at a satellite view of the larger Bay Area.
Questions: Can someone tell me where is San Francisco? Where is the Bay area? What is the blue mass on the left of the photo? Where is San Jose, Santa Cruz?
2. I handle the same series of images printed in color on a letter size paper, one per student.
3. There is a simple help the students can use: by placing their pencil horizontally, they can see if, for example the line of the horizon is above or below the pencil. By placing their pencil vertically in the middle of the photo, they can tell if the cliff on the photo is placed on the left of the pencil or on the right of it.
4. The students trace the main lines of their landscape
The idea is to recognize the principal features in each of the photo. And the main difficulty is to understand the proportions in the landscape. There is a simple help the students can use: by placing their pencil horizontally, they can see if, for example the line of the horizon is above or below the pencil. By placing their pencil vertically in the middle of the photo, they can tell if the cliff on the photo is placed on the left of the pencil or on the right of it.
5. When this is done, the students trace the lines again, this time with a black oil pastel. No details.
Short watercolor demo
I do the demo under the camera and it is projected on the screen. You can ask the students to gather in front of you.
The use of water is key: not enough is not enough, too much is too much! The best is to start with applying some water on the surface we want to color and then a little bit of color. If there is time, make some tries on a spare piece of paper prior to start coloring the drawing.
Use the ink already diluted on wet paper.
Use the ink not diluted on wet paper. Combine with another color.
Use the color not diluted on dry paper.
The students use watercolor inks to color their drawing
No detail here. At the very end, or when the paper is totally wet the following day, the students can use a thin brush to paint details if they wish to.
Discussion / positive critique
Looking at what everybody did – all the different landscapes with all their specificities. What worked? What did you learn? Is there something you particularly, and most importantly, why?
The Wetlands in Sunnyvale
– always try to have a discussion at the end of each session
– The photos need to be printed in color at a letter size, one for each student and protected in plastic sleeves.
– For early grades, this exercise can be done with tempera paint. I do not recommend the use of watercolor inks before 4th grade.