This past weekend I was searching Pinterest for art ideas to teach background, middleground and foreground to my students. In my mind I knew how it had to go but it’s a tricky concept so I wanted some clear step by step activities that would help them understand using perspective in art. As per usual Pinterest did not disappoint. It linked me to an awesome blog – Deep Space Sparkle Art Lessons for Kids where it demonstrated having kids paint a winter landscape using the three elements of perspective (background, middleground, foreground). If you are from Ontario then you know that today was certainly a winter landscape so I knew today was a perfect day for this lesson.
Normally when I teach art lesson I start with an artist example and then introduce the activity using by modelling the skills but I’m really open to the student interpretation of the activity. But for this lesson I took a different approach. I used the document camera and together we did the steps 1 at a time. I didn’t explain to students why were were doing the steps in the order we were as I wanted them to have some discovery and figure out perspective without me directly telling them. I have to admit I was a little nervous that the projects would come out cookie cutter but the results were spectacular and the students finished with a solid understanding of perspective. When we were done I had the students leave their paintings on their desk and do a walkabout the room. This brought out some really awesome insights from the kids.
Timothy said – “Wow! It looks 3D”
Aneka shared – “It looks like you can walk through our forest pictures”
Mehak said- “The light trees look far away and the darker the paint gets the closer the trees look.”
Mya told us – “You know if you paint the background things small and the up front things big that makes it look close and far away too!”
Adam said- “I thought it was going to be a problem painting the dark trees on top of the light trees but it makes it look real”
Falicia said – ” We all did the same thing but the pictures all look different!”
Overall I think this lesson was a success. The pictures show their individual artistic style and they were able to illicit the key messages from perspective that I was hoping they would get out of it.