Submitted by: Connie Bocko,
Waterville High School, Waterville, NY. Title:Landscapes and Self-Scapes
1. Learning Context
This specifically addresses Standards 1 and 2 in the Arts.
Arts Standard 1, Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts.
Create works in which they use and evaluate different kinds of mediums, subjects, themes, symbols, metaphors, and images
Demonstrate increasing level of competence in use in the elements of art and principle of design to create art for public exhibition (line, color, shape, form, texture; unity, variety, contrast, movement, emphasis, and balance)
Reflect on developing work to determine the effectiveness of selected mediums and techniques for conveying meaning and adjust their decisions accordingly Arts Standard 2, Knowing and using Art Materials and resources
Use the computer and other electronic media as designing tools to express their visual ideas and demonstrate a variety of approaches to artistic creation This learning experience utilizes technology to teach the basics of landscape painting, and how artists can use that venue as a means of creative expression. It demonstrates how traditional approaches and skills are being used to new ends with today’s technology. Having initially piloted this unit with a high school drawing and painting class, I have also used an adaptation of it with eighth graders. Students need only the basic computer skills which most students already have to start this project.
Students initially were asked to look at landscape paintings by traditional artists who painted in a representational fashion. To view the paintings we used the internet. A very useful site is Mark Hardin’s, The Artchive at http://www.artchive.com. As a class we discussed the technical aspects of landscape painting such as aerial perspective, and how artists can manipulate space, lighting, perspective, color, and pictorial elements to create mood or evoke emotion. Students were asked to select 3 artists that they particularly enjoyed and print an example of each work. They were then asked to write a paragraph describing what it was that they liked about the work. As a group students generated an idea list of possible aesthetic problems which could be addressed through landscape painting. Ideas included:
An extreme on this planet
A scary place
Peace with nature
A hostile planet
A view from another world
Students were given a 10 minute demonstration detailing how to create and edit basic landscapes, and simple geometrical shapes using Bryce 7 (or the current version if there is a newer one), a 3-D rendering program. Bryce allows the artists to create and place in space basic geometrical forms and landscape elements and then to apply textures and lighting to those wire frames. Surfaces and programed to react to the lighting conditions the artist has specified. Students were asked to generate several ideas, creating a minimum of 3 landscapes using at least two of the themes from the list the class generated, using Bryce. Once they were familiar with what concepts interested them the most, they were instructed to add a human element into a landscape. Groups of 2 or 3 were given a Digital Camera and took photographs of each other against a solid neutral color backdrop. I gave a demonstration in Photoshop to demonstrate how to use Photoshop’s various selection tools to isolate the image from the background. (For a tutorial, visit the Adobe Photoshop page on YouTube) One the person alone was selected it was moved to a transparent background, reduced in size and saved. Everyone was required to try incorporating one of their photos into the Bryce landscape. Students were given access to Bryce, a three dimensional drawing program, Adobe Photoshop, Computer, and a Digital Camera to accomplish their goals.
3. Instructional/Environmental Modifications
No modifications were necessary. However, this learning experience is one in which instructional modifications could easily be made. Students who experience difficultly manipulating conventional art materials are often better able to use a mouse or work a specially modified computer. As this endeavor is new to all it is far less intimidating for students with learning disabilities to seek extra help from the teachers or from peers. In this situation students are accustomed to helping and learning from each other.
4. Time Required
• Planning: A working knowledge of the basics of Bryce and the use of selection tools and creation of transparent layer in Photoshop is required if the teacher is unfamiliar with these packages. If already possess this, only 15 minutes to set up large solid color backdrop. • Implementation: 1 week tradition school 40 minute periods, 3 days under block scheduling.
Photoshop Tutorial, Bryce Tutorial for teacher’s use if unfamiliar with program
6. Assessment Plan
Students are given a copy of the assessment rubric in advance, so they can share in the responsibility for achieving the standard. See rubric below.
7. Student work
(See images on this page. Click on them for full size)
This unit gave a very contemporary face lift to a very old standard. The use of technology made the subject of landscape painting exciting, fun and viable with today’s world of computer graphics. Students of every level and ability really enjoyed this unit. It gave them the opportunity to be imaginative and present their ideas in a very polished fashion and skill beyond that they could do by hand. It was a real self confidence builder for students on every level. Adding the photograph of themselves or a friend into the Bryce landscape particularly engaged the more advanced students. They spent a great deal of time on their images. One student who is not particularly skilled, came daily during study hall to use the scanner to bring in photos of herself and her horse into new environments. All of the class completed the assignment with few difficulties. Members addressed the challenge of manipulate space, lighting, perspective, color, and pictorial elements to create mood or evoke emotion with varying degrees of creativity. Several were successful in incorporating their human element in a way that contributed to the overall message of the work.
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