GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS – Texture, Colour, Composition

Students research the contributions to Canadian culture of a Canadian artist and recreate one of their paintings in modeling clay.

Required Time

160 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 6 to Grade 9

Subject

Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

colour composition elements of art principles of design texture

Materials

Crayola Modeling Clay - Variety of Colours Canvas Boards - 12.7 cm x 17.7 cm (5" x 7") - 1 per student Toothpicks and Bamboo Skewers Various Modeling Tools (optional)

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Steps

GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS – Texture, Colour, Composition - Step One

Step One

  1. Refer to your source image.
  2. Outline the main part of your painting on the canvas board.
  3. Pay careful attention to the division of space and overall composition.
GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS – Texture, Colour, Composition - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use modeling clay to recreate the painting.
  2. Blend colours to match the colours in the painting.
  3. Press thin layers of modeling clay onto the canvas board.
  4. Pay close attention to the way one colour meets another.
    - crisp, hard edges
    - blurred, soft edges

     

 

 

GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS – Texture, Colour, Composition - Step Three

Step Three

  1. View your work from a distance to see it with fresh eyes.
  2. Compare it with your source image and make any changes you might need.

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • research a famous Canadian artist from confederation to the present;
  • recreate one of the artist's paintings in modeling clay;
  • identify the artist's contributions to Canadian culture;
  • Identify the dominant element and principle in each painting;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

Have students:

  • use the Graphic Story lesson plan available on this website to create a graphic story about something that happened during the life of their artist inferring what his/her life as an artist in Canada would be like and using primary and secondary sources to flesh out the story;
  • share their work with their peers;
  • publish the stories in a class book.

Prepare

  1. Gather and make available books about Canadian art, for example, Canadian Artists, by Maxine Trottier; A First Book of Canadian Art, by Richard Rhodes; A Concise History of Canadian Painting, by Dennis Reid; The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, by David Silcox; Tom Thomson, by Charles Hill; Emily Carr Collected, by Ian Thom; Lawren Harris: An Introduction to His Life and Art, by Joan Murray; Canadian Heritage Collection, and Primary Documents of 20th Century Canada – The Visual Arts, by Heather Miller.
  2. Have students browse the books ahead of their Internet search to find images and artists they wish to focus on.
  3. Download and display the Elements of Art and Principles of Design posters available on this website.
  4. Review or introduce the elements of art and some or all of the principles of design. You may want to use the lesson plans available on this website.
  5. Have students select and research the contributions to Canadian culture of an artist that interests them, and choose a painting by that artist to focus on.

Introduction

  1. View an image of a painting by a Canadian artist, for example, Morning, Lake Superior,  by Lawren Harris.
  2. Have students decide what key element of art is dominant in the painting.
    - Point out that art uses all or most of the elements, but often some elements are more dominant than others.
  3. Have students decide what key principle of design is dominant in the painting. 
    - Point out that art uses many of the principles, but often some principles are more dominant than others.
  4. Discuss the composition of the painting paying particular attention to the division of space and placement of main objects.
  5. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Research a famous Canadian artist from confederation to the present.
  2. Recreate one of the artist's paintings in modeling clay.
  3. Identify the artist's contributions to Canadian culture.
  4. Identify the dominant element and principle in each painting.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment. 
  6. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - mixed colours to match the source image
    - created a modeling clay image that looks like the original painting
    - identified the dominant element and principle in the painting
    - paid attention to details
    - created a work that is in good condition
    - identified the artist's contributions to Canadian culture
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Share their work and discuss their choice of image and something significant they learned about the artist.
    - Compare their modeling clay image with the source image and discuss the things that are especially effective in the artwork and why.

    - Talk about what they found difficult and what they found easy to do.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds artwork to the side, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - CanadianArt_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - CanadianArt_self-assessment.pdf)