• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

sky, land, and the horizon line

You know how it is when kids draw; first a line of grass at the bottom of the paper, then a line of blue sky at the top, with everything floating around in the white space in between. It's normal, and just about every child does it, but oh, all that wasted middle ground! This drawing lesson is all about the horizon line ... that place where the sky meets the land.

It's simple, it's essentially foolproof, and the directed drawing element gives kids enough choices for types of lines and shapes that each child's composition maintains a personal feel.

It's a great art lesson for a spring or summer day... any day when there are some puffy clouds in the sky. I taught it on a sunny, spring day in a Kindergarten class. I knew I would be back another day that week, so I took photos, printed them later at home on card stock, and brought them back to finish off the art work another day.

First, I read a book about clouds and we spent some time looking at the illustrations. We talked about the shapes of the clouds; using descriptive words like puffy, stretchy, misty, etc. Then we went outside and actually looked at the clouds. On the grass.

This lesson uses a directed drawing strategy.... I call it "my turn / your turn".... and starts with the horizon line, which can be straight, curved, or a little wiggly to suggest some rolling hills. Clouds on top, flowers on the bottom, and the drawing part is pretty much done except for the shading. In my lesson I gave lots of options for clouds, using those descriptive words again, and demonstrated different shapes before having students draw. Flower shapes varied from very simple to more detailed and again, I demonstrated several ideas first, then had students draw theirs. Then I showed how to shade all the foreground and all the sky, leaving no white space. While they worked on theirs, I got the bright idea to take the photos. Thank you, iPhone in my pocket!

It's the addition of the photo that makes the composition come alive and really emphasizes the concept of foreground and background. I had to do some experimenting at home to get the size correct, because I wanted the people to be too tall to fit only in the grass or fit on top of the grass.

Cutting out their photos gave these Kindergartners some serious, careful cutting practice. I encouraged them to try their picture in different places before gluing it down.

We did this lesson just for fun, but it would fit beautifully as part of a unit on seasons, or weather, or clouds.... there are so many possibilities! It's a simple lesson that introduces art concepts in a natural way, guides students toward learning to use the whole paper by drawing full backgrounds.

This lesson is available in my TeachersPayTeachers store. It includes step-by-step directions, sample drawings of horizon lines, clouds, and flowers, and two 'art reflection' worksheets to add a little personal art analysis and a writing component. Look for it here..... and enjoy!

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