IT’S SNOWING! – Foreground, Middle Ground, Background

Students use oil pastels to create a picture on a piece of acetate (overhead transparency) and glue the completed drawing to a piece of coloured construction paper with the oil pastel side facing down. 

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 2 to Grade 8

Subject

Language Arts
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

background blend contrast foreground highlights middle ground

Materials

Crayola Oil Pastels - 16 Count Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Glitter Glue Crayola Washable School Glue Acetate (Overhead Transparency) - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8 ½" x 11") - 1 per student Onion Skin Tracing Paper - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8 ½" x 11") - 1 per student Tape

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Steps

IT’S SNOWING! – Foreground, Middle Ground, Background - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw the picture on a piece of onion skin tracing paper.
  2. Include details in the foreground, middle ground and background.
  3. Check to see that you have enough details to make it interesting.
  4. Turn the paper over and place it face down on the desk.
  5. The picture should be reversed.
  6. Place a piece of overhead transparency on top of the drawing.
IT’S SNOWING! – Foreground, Middle Ground, Background - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Tape the corners of the tracing paper to the acetate to hold it in place.
  2. Colour the picture using oil pastels. 
  3. Blend colours and create contrasting areas.
IT’S SNOWING! – Foreground, Middle Ground, Background - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Remove the acetate from the tracing paper.
  2. Turn it over so the oil pastel side is facing down.
IT’S SNOWING! – Foreground, Middle Ground, Background - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Place the drawing on top of a piece of coloured construction paper with the oil pastel side facing down .
  2. Check to see if there is enough contrast and if there is anything else you want to do to the composition.
    - Clean up some areas to create better contrast.
    - Try outlining some details with a marker.
  3. When you are satisfied with the drawing place a small drop of Crayola Washable Glue in each corner of the picture.
  4. Press it lightly to the construction paper with the oil pastel side facing down.
  5. The glue will dry clear. 
IT’S SNOWING! – Foreground, Middle Ground, Background - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Add some highlights with glitter glue.
  2. View your picture with fresh eyes.
    - What do you like best about it? Why?
    - How does contrast add to the illusion of depth?
    - What makes the objects in the foreground appear closer than the things in the background?
    - How do different blending techniques add to the effectiveness of the picture?
  3. Give your picture a title.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create an oil pastel drawing using blending techniques;
  • include details in the foreground, middle ground and background to create the illusion of depth; 
  • use contrast to create the illusion of depth;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

Extensions

Have students:

  • use the Oil Pastel Greeting Card lesson plan available on this website to make cards for special occasions such as Mother's Day;
  • teach a peer how to make an oil pastel drawing on acetate.

Prepare

  1. Prior to this lesson have students use the Exploring Oil Pastels lesson plan available on this website.
  2. Gather materials needed for this lesson. 
  3. Place students into groups of about 6 so they can share the oil pastels.
  4. Download an image from the Internet of people in a snowy landscape. For example,
    Snowball fight and snowman

Introduction

  1. Display the picture  Snowball fight and snowman.
  2. Discuss the story being told in the picture.
    What's going on here?
  3. Focus on the division of space. Ask children:
    Who is the person closest to us in this picture?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - Who is the person furthest away from us in this picture?
  4. Continue in this way so students see the division of space and things the artist has done to create the illusion of depth. For example,
    - Objects higher on the picture plane appear to be further away.
    - Objects in the distance appear to be smaller.
    - Colours in the distance appear to be paler and duller.
    - Cast shadows make objects seem 3-dimensional.
  5. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Create an oil pastel drawing using blending techniques.
  2. Include details in the foreground, middle ground and background to create the illusion of depth. 
  3. Use contrast to create the illusion of depth.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Ask students to close their eyes and think about the first big snowfall this year. 
  2. What was the schoolyard like at recess time?
  3. Guide them to visualize the scene and what they were doing in it.
  4. Ask them to choose one part of the scene to draw. 
    - What colours do you see?
    - How many people are with you?
    - What are you doing?
    - What is happening in the middle ground?
    - What is happening in the background?
  5. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  6. Establish success criteria with your students. For example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - blended colours
    - included details in the foreground that are bigger than details in the middle ground
    - included details in the middle ground that are bigger than details in the background
    - included details in the background that are smaller than details in the rest of the picture
    - used contrast to create the illusion of depth

    - kept the paper in good condition
  7. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  8. Observe students as they work. 
  9. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Display the completed drawings for a group discussion. Remind students of the challenge.
  2. Ask students to:
    Look closely at the drawings.
    - Choose one that interests you for some reason.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
  3. Ask students:
    - What do you like best about it? Why?
    - How does contrast add to the illusion of depth?
    - What makes the objects in the foreground appear closer than the things in the background?
    - How do different blending techniques add to the effectiveness of the picture?

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 picture 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 - Snowing_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students reflect on their work in their sketchbook/journals.
    - What do you like best about the picture? Why?
    - Explain how you created the illusion of depth.
    - If you could make another drawing using oil pastels what would you do next?