CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting

Students identify distinguishing characteristics of a variety of plants. They make field notes and drawings of specific plants and then create an encaustic painting of one of them.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 6 to Grade 8

Subject

Art Techniques
Language Arts
Science
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

balance colour composition encaustic fine art impasto line science illustration texture

Materials

Electric Frying Pan Brushes Corrugated Cardboard 15cm x 12cm Small Muffin Tin Crayons

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Steps

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step One

Step One

Use your field notes to make 4 different compositions of your plants. Think about how you use the elements to make an interesting journey through the space. 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step Two

Step Two

CAUTION! This activity should only be done in a well ventilated area and with adult supervision.

Begin by sorting the crayons according to the colours you will use. Unwrap the crayons and break them in half. 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step Three

Step Three

Place the broken crayons into the muffin tin palette. The muffin tin stays in the electric frying pan. Make sure there is always water in the pan surrounding the muffin tin and keep the temperature turned to medium heat. Notice the physical changes to the crayons as they are heated.  

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step Four

Step Four

Try different brush strokes and colour combinations on a piece of bristol board to get the feel of the technique.

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step Five

Step Five

When you are ready to begin your good painting work on the heavy corrugated cardboard. 

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step Six

Step Six

Refer to your plan drawing and gradually build up colour and texture until you are satisfied with the final piece. 

CHARACTERISTICS OF PLANTS – Encaustic Painting - Step Seven

Step Seven

View the painting from a distance to see it with fresh eyes. Look for shadows and lines leading your eye in and around the composition.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create an encaustic painting that expresses a particular quality of a plant;
  2. Use contrast and shadow to create balance;
  3. Use line to create the illusion of movement;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

 

Extensions

  1. Have the encaustic materials available for further exploration, on 3-dimensional objects, for example.
  2. Have students write a poem to accompany their image. Photgraph the images and create a class poetry book illustrated with the photographs of the nature paintings.
  3. Have students write an artist statement about their painting. Make a display of the artworks with the artist statements placed beside the paintings. Invite other classes to view the show and comment on the works. (Download – WRITING_ARTIST_STATEMENT.pdf)
     

 

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson organize the equipment into centres for about 6 students.
  2. Take students on a field trip to a park or outdoor education centre to do field sketches of plants and trees, or download images from the Internet, or find images in books or magazines. 
    Deciduous
    Coniferous
    Birch
    Maple
    Spruce
  3. Download several fine art paintings of plants. For example,
    Klimpt
    Monet
    Cézanne
    Frommel
  4. Download several science illustrations of plants. For example,
    Flowers
    Nutmeg Tree
    Apple Tree

Introduction

  1. Have students look at a variety of plant images to compare composition and techniques.
  2. Discuss the composition of the pictures, focusing on the arrangement of elements to create balance, and how the artist holds the attention of the viewer taking their eye on a journey around and through the space.
  3. Discuss the characteristics of some of the plants students have been studying – leaf shapes and type, flowering plants, etc.
  4. View the images of science illustrations and fine art paintings and compare them. Explain that they will be making a fine art painting to express a particular quality or characteristic of their plant. 
  5. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create an encaustic painting that expresses a particular quality of a plant.
  2. Use contrast and shadow to create balance.
  3. Use line to create the illusion of movement.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Have students work from their field notes or downloaded resource images.
  2. Ask students to make 4 thumbnail sketches of different compositions based on their field notes.
  3. Encourage them to think of the kinds of details they will need to add to the composition to make it effective.
  4. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  5. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  6. Observe students as they work. 
  7. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Once all the paintings are complete display them for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
    Look closely at the drawings.
    - Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
  2. During the discussion include references to:
    composition – how it holds the attention of the viewer taking the eye on a journey around and through the space
    - balance – how line and colour balance the composition
    - technique – special qualities created by the encaustic technique

 

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - ENCAUSTIC_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - ENCAUSTIC_self-assessment.pdf)