Sunday, September 13, 2015

4th Grade Blue Ridge Mountain Landscapes

Artwork by Sophia

Working a little state geography along with some science into a 4th grade art lesson is never a bad idea in my book.  We learn that even the Cherokee called their mountains the "land of the blue smoke," and students expound on why they think our Blue Ridge Mountains are "blue." (They learn that organic compounds that scatter blue light are "exhaled" into the atmosphere by the mountain forests, creating the characteristic blue haze.)

Classic views of our mountains are also great examples of "atmospheric perspective," or how the atmosphere lends a different color value to each ridge of mountains depending on its distance from the viewer.  We study how landscape artists can therefore use different values of a color to create a feeling of space or depth in their works.  The artworks are created by first drawing three ridges of mountains with pencil, then mixing yellow and red tempura paints to brush on a sunset sky. In a second session, students are given blue and white paints and tasked with creating three distinct values of blue for their three ridges.  Students were also given the option of adding foreground trees to their paintings using an even darker value.  I think these really turned out nice!

Artwork by Kaden

Artwork by Maggie

Artwork by Peyton

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