"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Folk Art Oil Pastel Landscapes

This is a folk art landscape project using oil pastels and black ink. I have a soft spot for folk art landscapes; I find they are so charming and sweet and full of happiness and joy. Many 'folk' or 'naïve' artists were/are untrained and completely free in how they paint. Having gone to art school for four years, I was trained to do extensive rough sketches, thumbnails, practice, practice- get the perspective right, mix colours, blend, etc, etc, etc. So may rules and techniques- so now when I go to do my own art, I have all that 'information' in the back of my mind and it feels like I can't be completely free and uninhibited....

Anyway.... before this project, show students images from any folk artist you like- I chose the Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis. She's one of my favourite artists and I only chanced upon her work when I visited the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in Halifax. I was in love. The gallery houses not only some of her paintings, but her famous tiny (one room) little painted house she lived in. Maud was crippled by childhood arthritis and lived in poverty most of her life, selling her paintings, at most, for between $5 - $15. Like many folk artists, she had never taken an art class and was self-taught.

"A View of Sandy Cove" by Maud Lewis (mid-1950's)           Source

Maud Lewis

Here's a short video from 1976, about Maud Lewis, from the National Film Board of Canada:

                          Here's another video, from 1964, showing Maud working
and discussing her art. Watch as a woman buys her famous 3 black cats painting for $5!!!!

 So for this project, students first drew a simple landscape onto white construction paper (9 x 12"). 
They were encouraged to include a background, middle ground and foreground. 
The landscapes could be fanciful and imaginative- stylized tree, plants, buildings, etc. or more 'realistic'. Whatever worked for the students. I had on hand lots of illustrated children's books with landscape pictures and calendar landscape photos for students to refer to as well.

Then, pass over all the pencil lines with a thick line of chalk. Use a light colour, like an off-white if possible. We only had yellow, and it tended to stain some of the white colours later on...

The, colour the picture with a thick layer of oil pastels. Don't colour over the chalk lines.
I encouraged students to colour in one direction and mix shades together.

Then, using a damp sponge, wipe off all the chalk lines. 
The paper will probably warp a bit but no worries.

Finally, using black watercolours or black ink (or even tempera watered down to an ink-like consistency), pass over all the black white lines with a soft round brush. 
If the pictures curl or warp, just flatten them overnight with a stack of heavy books.

Grade 3/4 artwork- ta da!!

Teacher sample below....



Mrs. Art Teacher said...

these remind me of stained glass also

Unknown said...


Joe said...

These are great! As you say - so joyful and happy : )

PinkStripeySocks said...

This is a great idea. I just recently tried mixing cooking oil with oil pastels and everything blurred and the paper became translucent. (http://www.pinkstripeysocks.com/2013/04/using-cooking-oil-to-blur-oil-pastels.html0 I think I might incorporate the chalk outlining first next time and see what other "stained glass" effects I can get. Thanks!

Miss said...

Thanks for your comments everyone :)

PinkStripeySocks: I've heard of the cooking oil/oil pastel combo before but have never tried it out. Your flower pictures turned out lovely!

Chesterbrook Academy Elementary said...

Beautiful compositions.
I love the simplicity of form and the boldness of colors.

Miss said...

Thanks Chesterbrook :)

Unknown said...

LOVE these! Thanks for sharing!

PLASTIQUEM - Espe said...

I discovered a new artist. Thank you for giving to meet people who have loved art as Maud Lewis.

Mrs. P said...

Thank you for introducing me to a new artist! I am going to share these videos with my 83-year-old grandmother who is from Canada and see if she'd like to try your project (since she usually sits and watches me paint). Inspiring! Thank you, mrs. P @ createartwithme.blogspot.com

Christine said...

I did this with my grade 4's last year... here's how they turned out

Confessions of a Modern Day [ex] Substitute Teacher

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