Submitted by:Linda Woods, St. Johns Lower School
Cave Paintings - Drawings for Elementary
Unit: Animals in Art
We first crumpled and painted Manila Paper totally brown with Tempera Paint, then rinsed it to make it look like a cracked brown paper... rock like. Kids drew animals, figures, symbols, etc. in black Crayons... very lightly at first, then pressed hard intermittently in the outline of their creatures. After that, they used earth tone Cray-Pas that were broken in small pieces (a little less than a half inch long [1.3 cm]) to blend colors, add shading to their creatures. We also used white in some cases. I told them to press hard in some areas, such as bright gold or yellow orange for highlighting, medium hard in the other areas... just hard enough to resist black Watercolor Paint that was added last after they finished coloring. We only used the black watercolor resist over the Cray-Pas but they also mixed some pale washes to tint their rocks wet in wet over the brown crackle if they wished to add more color to the rocks. The crackles still showed if they wished to do that. I told them that they could use one pale color wash for an accent color in a border if they wished, but they could also leave all of the colors neutral and be content with that.
Oh, and the very last thing we did was to use some metallic gold and copper acrylic paint to add some accents to their animals. We did this with quick brush strokes to indicate highlight areas... used in moderation, then blended them out a little with our fingers so that they would not be overpowering, but add a contemporary flair to these stylized drawings. They also tore the edges of the brown crackled paper backgrounds before they mounted them on either medium brown or gray construction paper mats. I had some handouts with cave art animals and figures on them, and we looked at a PowerPoint of Lascaux prior to doing this. We discussed the stylization of the horses, bulls, figures and symbols in depth, analyzing their skinny legs and their body forms related to geometric shape. My kids were fearless with drawing horses, stags, moose, antelope, big horned sheep, and bulls after our chat beforehand. These were GORGEOUS and have attracted a lot of attention.
From Sandy Poos:
I use to teach my 6th graders about the Paleolithic Cave Paintings. We used sticks from real branches and dipped them into black tempera to draw our animals on the walls (which was 12x18 (30.5 x 46 cm) brown Construction Paper - different shades and tints of brown - edges could be torn for rough like feeling) . They thought it was harder than using Chalk or pencil or Brushes. We gave our "brown" wall some texture with crayon rubbings and after the tempera lines were dry, we added some Oil Pastels inside the line drawings to add a little touch of color like the cave man did.
Becky Thornton added this idea:
I have the students draw animals on brown paper sacks, then fill them in partially with Sharpie Fine Point Markers (permanent marker) then we crayon over the animal, lightly. Then I iron them. They look quite good and are very inexpensive!
Kindergarten Adaptation from Lin Alt, Cedar Creek Elementary
We studied the caves of France, especially Lascaux. I used pieces of the lesson on your site and we looked at the URL from France you listed (Lascaux Cave). After the students finished their art, I made a cave in an unused storeroom by hanging wrinkled brown paper on the walls. I glued their artwork all over and included plastic spiders and paper bats. The children were allowed to crawl in with flashlights and look at the cave. It was one of those doors that opens in half, so we only opened the bottom half. They children LOVED it. They were unbelievably cute and were totally in to it. After that, 1st and 2nd grades got a tour and loved it as much as the little ones!
Cedar Creek Cave - Lin Alt's Kindergarteners
Alternate Idea from Ellen Sears:
We had been doing contour drawings - I had them prepare a piece of cardboard by gluing torn newspaper pieces down (with a watered-down White Glue) - they used a small plastic animal to come up with a drawing, used black Crayons to draw the contour line. Then used a dark Acrylic Paint wash on the negative space. The print/ images of the newspaper gave a nice texture - the wash let the print show through - a nice little lesson on contour drawing and negative space.
Suggested by Diane Davis:
I like to use stained or broken ceiling tiles (the big ones 3' x 5' / 91.4 x 152.4 cm) that the custodians were going to throw out. I cover them with Plaster of Paris for a bumpy rock surface, and have each table work cooperatively on them. They love to use the curves in the plaster to show movement or create a scene based on the lines and bumps protruding from the plaster surface. Plaster could be given a wash rock like stain ahead of time. Drywall board scraps might be available from a construction company for the lesson.
Others have suggested staining - then carving drywall board.
Lascaux: Movement, Space and Time - This book includes 262 color illustrations of the most important of the 1,963 images in the cave, including 915 animals and one human.