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The art of Japanese painter Sakai Hoitsu inspires original decorative paintings of flowers and plants.
Sakai Hoitsu, a Japanese artist, was born in Edo in 1761. He painted in the Rimpa style, a decorative form of painting which was often based upon literature and the revision of old classics. Organize students into small groups to research this style of painting. Have available a variety of text and electronic resources for students to use during this activity.
Once research is complete, ask students to look closely at Hoitsu's Birds and Flowers, May Irises. The artist focused on the plant life, placing it in the foreground. Although he suggested a background with soft tones crossing the page, the emphasis was on the irises. The plant was arranged so the spaces around it are interesting and varied, which make the composition strong. Students discuss how they see this technique working to balance the artwork.
To create their own artwork in the Rimpa style, students begin by researching different varieties of flowers and select one that they think is visually pleasing. Students draw a few sketches of the plant from various angles, using Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Students pick their favorite sketches.
Students fold a large sheet of white paper into a narrower rectangle, similar to the shapes on which Hoitsu painted. Use Crayola Scissors to cut along the fold and trim away the excess paper.
With colored pencils, students redraw their favorite sketches on the vertical paper, enlarging the flower so it fits well in the space. Look closely at the spaces around the drawing (negative space), as well as the drawing itself. Vary those spaces, even if it is necessary to have to change the drawing slightly to create a stronger, more interesting composition.
Students cover their work space with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola Tempera Paint to fill in the negative spaces with a single, dark color. Dry.
Students use tempera to paint their plants. Make the colors and shapes as realistic as possible. Air-dry flat.
This powerful diorama pays tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebrate his historic civil rights speech on the step
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