Some examples of symbols in Morrisseau's work:
Circle - The circles in Morrisseau's work tell us about the life cycle, the sun, the moon and directions (North, South, East, West).Energy Lines - You can see them extending from the hand or the body of a figure. Sometimes they are connected ... sometimes they are alone or isolated.Eyes - Large eyes that see all can be found in Morrisseau's work. These eyes are a symbol of a shaman or medicine man.X-Ray - This is a style attributed to Morrisseau. The X-Ray technique shows the interior as well as the exterior of a figure. The various parts of a body for example are expressed with different colors and lines.
Have your students choose a subject for their painting - a fish, a bird, a turtle, etc. You could have them choose animals native to your local region. Students then sketch the outline of their subject on their paper. Next, students should think about the interior of their subject - the energy and emotion inside. Students can then draw lines (using ink, crayons, oil sticks, oil pastels etc), colors (using paint, oil pastels, cut up paper etc.) and shapes inside the subject ... the more the better. Let imagination take over as the paper is filled with paint.
*You can also try this lesson using crayons, markers or pencil crayons instead of paint.
Because of time constraints, we made our versions using dark brown tempera paint. Morriseau did some black and white paintings, so I showed these as well.