American Art-landscapes


Project: Three important ideas to America in the 1800’s; discovery, exploration, and settlement.

Week 1 (14-18 March) DISCOVERY

– Lesson about expectations and abilities

– Prep paper, drawing boards and pencils. Go outside and draw the landscape.

18 March 2011 So something silly happened today before we went outside to draw. One of our students was excused for a few minutes and we couldn’t wait for him, so I wrote a note on the tile floor  outside the studio door thinking, “He’ll find us outside, writing on the floor is a good idea, this is dry erase marker, it’ll come off.” He found us without a hitch, happily drew for the whole time and life was good. We tramped back to studio and I rubbed the message with my foot and it didn’t come off! I got Windex, scrubbed, lamented, etc. Finally a few 5th grade artists saved my bacon by spitting on it and kicking at the message repeatedly with their sneakers. It worked! The little geniuses. So I gave them erasers and they cleaned it off. I need to keep these guys around…

-Horizon, what things we discovered from working outside. Look at Thomas Cole’s The Oxbow. Cross the street to parking lot to draw the view of the sun over the river.

landscape by Thomas Cole 1836

Part of the Hudson River school of painting

30 March- Today one of the students said something so insightful as we were hanging out drawings from our cloudy drawing period…

I just didn’t have the instinct today.” -Caden

What did he mean by that?

Week 2 (21-25 March) EXPLORATION

-Look at Albert Bierstadt’s Rocky Mountains. Revisit river to make landscape drawings, or if we already did that, go to the other side of school for mountain view.

-Pounce transfer drawings to canvas board.

Another "Hudson River school" painting called "The Rocky Mountains"

by George Caleb Bingham

Compare this work to "The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak". What do the artists want us to think about the West?

What is happening in this painting?

What mood does this painting suggest to you?

How did Bingham create the sense of a calm early morning?

Compare this work to The Rocky Mountains, Lander’s Peak. What do the artists want us to think about the West?

Get a closer look at this work:

Can you find which river the "Fur Traders" were descending?

What Native Indian tribes were in the Missouri River at the time of the painting? Check out this map:

Week 3 (28 March-1 April) SETTLEMENT

-Finishing pouncing drawings. Begin painting. Talk about layers of color, light, shadow.

-Visit one of the sites, paint outside!

What else was happening in America in the first half of the 1800’s?

Thoreau and Walden

We’re working on our landscapes and they look great! We’ve been inspired by the colorful backgrounds of Tim Gagnon. Check out his video to see the obvious influence: 

I wanted to post these pics at the beginning of the post, but I hope people will scroll this far down on the page to check it out.

The big idea of this project: As the young nation expanded in the 1800’s, Romantic idealism permeated much of American art.


About Ms. O

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