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Arctic Landscapes a la Ted Harrison

This lesson delivers all the beautiful bright creaminess of paint with none of the mess! Students learn about arctic art and Canadian artist Ted Harrison while creating bold pieces of art with Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayons and water.

  • Grade 2
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Ask students what they know about the Inuit culture, past and present. Common answers might include: speaking different language, fishers and hunters, travel by boat and dog-sled, igloos, parkas, etc. (Note: While elements of their culture still prevail, try not to perpetuate the myth that this is the only way they continue to live.)
    2. Explain how artists have often been inspired by different cultures as well as their own. Show students a selection of landscape images by Canadian artist Ted Harrison. Give students a little bit of background on the artist (born August 28, 1926, U.K. Canadian artist famous for his paintings of the Yukon, etc.).
    3. Have students respond orally to the images shown. What types of art does Ted Harrison create? What do they see? What types of colors does the artist use? What moods do the paintings evoke? How do they feel when they see the art? What does the art remind them of?
    4. Explain to students that they will be creating their own Harrison-style landscapes. Give students heavy paper, a pencil, and Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons in as many shades as are available.
    5. Have students use their pencils to sketch a horizon line. Add a sun or moon in the sky. Encourage students to create a mix of jagged lines and smooth lines as they separate both sky and ground into many sections.
    6. Next, students color in their image keeping with many different colors using dry-erase crayons. You may request students keep cool colors for ground (snow, mountains) and warm colors for sky (sunset, rise). Explain to students that they may leave a little gap of white between colors.
    7. Once their sheet is filled with color, provide students with pots of water and brushes. Demonstrate how by painting over the color it becomes like paint.
    8. Remind students to rinse their brushes in between colors.
    9. Let art dry and display.
  • Standards

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    SS: Describe ways in which artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that people in different places view the world differently.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    VA: Students experience, analyze and interpret art and other aspects of the visual world.

    VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

  • Adaptations

    Challenge older students to create their art using specific math concepts (i.e. 2/3 snow vs. sky for rations, snow having more separations than sky for numbering, incorporations of certain shapes for shape reasoning and their attributes).

    Read Caldecott Award winner “The Way to Start a Day” by Byrd Baylor. Compare and contrast the illustrations in the book to the art of Ted Harrison.

    Have students work in small groups to do presentations on the Inuit culture (food, language, clothing, geography). Have them compare it to their own community and cultures.

    Compare and contrast the work of Paul Gauguin, whose paintings were inspired by the people of French Polynesia (Note: Research carefully in advance, many of Gauguin’s works include nude figures.)


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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