Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Painting & Descriptive Writing

     Well.  I have to admit.  I am a sucker for all things cross-curricular this year.  I was trained under the theory that Art is for Arts Sake.  A painting can stand alone solely on visual interpretation.  As I become an active member of our school 'family' by sitting in on grade-level data teams and see what concepts our kids are struggling with on assessments, I feel the need to support them in any way that I can.  There.  I said it.

    I feel like descriptive writing is a weakness for some of our kiddos.  It takes some 'thinking outside of the box'.  It takes some 'imagination'.  And what better place to use imagination than in the Art Room?  So, I found this painting inspiration on Pinterest (yes, I'm addicted):

Here's the link to the original lesson: 

    We started talking about perspective and how objects become smaller as they go farther away from you.  Then, I introduced the students to the concept of Atmospheric Perspective and how the colors of things become less intense the farther you look.  So, I showed the students three different ways to draw their lines to depict either a desert or a meadow landscape (with soft curved lines), a forest landscape (like the one above), or a mountain landscape (using jagged/peaked lines).  Next, I let them select one color for their palette.  I gave them a scoop of white per area they had on their paper (5 hills, 5 scoops of white).  The directions were to paint the foreground with the original color, the second space with one scoop of white mixed in, the third space with another scoop of white, and so on.  

     When the paintings were finished, they were to write a descriptive paragraph telling the viewer where they are, what they feel (temperature or emotion), what they hear, what do they see, etc.  We talked about the moods of color and color temperature.  

     Next class period, I gave them colored pencils and let them add details to their paintings to depict exactly what type of landscape they have.  They were instructed to use visual perspective when drawing their objects.  Here are some stellar examples:


  1. Wow, you have some very talented writers there! Literacy, and the ability to articulate your creative thoughts is so closely linked with the visual arts - this is a wonderful project to encourage skill development in both areas.

  2. This is a neat project! Thank you for sharing it. I would like to do a similar project, and I was wondering which grade level you think the students did the best job with it? Did you do this project with 4th & 5th graders? Thanks again!