Thursday, January 28, 2016

local landscaping.

This week the 4th graders have continued working with chalk pastels landscapes. We changed the point of view (from the side as compared to looking down in the ISS photos from last week) and the location of the landscapes as we looked at SoCal scenes by San Diego artist Monique Straub. Monique creates intensely colored landscapes that have a strong use of line to fill space that contrasts interestingly with the character of the photos taken aboard the ISS by Commander Scott Kelly.

The emphasis for this lesson is twofold- practicing pastel application/tinting techniques and looking closely at a scene and recreating it. Just as students need to pick up on main ideas and key details in reading text, I wanted them to gain practice in identifying those concepts when observing and making art. Earlier in the year, when exploring line and shape, students had much more room for choice in the art making process. I find that having this type of balance is important in developing creative thinking and technical skill.

Students could choose from 3 of Monique's landscapes to work from. I asked them to outline general shapes first and then add contour details. When adding color to their drawings, students could mix and blend colors and add white to make tints where needed. I also encouraged them to use line patterns in areas to capture the line work present in Monique's originals.

When students finished and cleaned up, they answered 3 questions about the project and materials they have been using this year.


  1. I am so honored that you are enjoying my work. Your interpretations are wonderful! I love every one of them. Keep up the good work :)

  2. Beautiful! I really appreciated your AOE online conference presentation. I am making a point to include more living artists in my curriculum.

    I have some material management questions...Do you use the same medium across grade levels for a unit? Also, do you fix all of their chalk art?

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I try to use the same materials as much as possible for my units throughout the year. It makes supply & space management so much easier. As far as spray goes, I have become very sensitive to it over the years, so I only spray the pieces I save for art exhibits. If teachers want to spray a class set, they can borrow spray from me.