As the leaves are quickly changing colour where I live, I though I'd better post this fall landscape project. It's a 'autumnal' take on the infamous 'winter birch tree' project. It uses masking tape to create the trees and all students can be successful with this type of project. For pretty much all of my projects, I do an initial demonstration to teach new techniques, discuss the materials, introduce new artists, etc, but then let the students interpret the project in their own way. This way, the more tentative students are given ideas as a starting point and the more creative ones can experiment more.
To start off with, Grade 8 students looked at the painting "Forest of Birch Trees", (1902) by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Discuss the range of fall colours and the textures created by the fallen leaves
and the birch bark.
|Forest of Birch Trees, 1902, Gustav Klimt|
Have a variety of sizes of masking tape available, or at least a thin one.
Students cut off a variety of different lengths of tape and put it onto a piece of their clothing beforehand to gather some lint on it and take away alot of the stickiness. This way it won't rip the paper when we take it off at the end. Draw a horizon line on a sheet of heavy white paper and begin placing the 'tape trees'. Thicker tape goes in the foreground and thinner tape in the background. This will help create an illusion of depth. Some students chose to cut their tape along the edges to create 'less straight' trees. The tape works really well as birch trees are naturally quite straight and smooth.
Press down the edges of the tape to make sure it's on securely.
Paint the sky, with watercolours or tempera discs, then give the ground an overall wash of an ochre colour. Encourage colour mixing of Autumn colours such as yellows, oranges, browns.
Using an old round bristle brush, start stippling fall colours on. Pounce the paint onto the paper in an up-and-down stippling motion. This gives the illusion of leaves and texture. I tend to start with the lightest and work my way up to darker colours: yellow, oranges, ochres, browns, touches of green. Let dry.
The next class, students can slowly peel off the tape to reveal the white trees. Don't worry if some paint has seeped through; it will get obscured by the shadows and birch bark markings.
Now to add some shading to these to make them look like they're in a dark forest. Paint them in washes of grey. Add a darker shade of grey along one side of each tree. Let dry a bit.
Finally, using a thin brush, paint grey/black markings along the bark.
The final paintings look very nice mounted onto blue paper.
Grade 8 results: Ta da!