Caspar David Friedrich has always been one of my favorite landscape painters and I have always wanted to teach about him! Friedrich was a 19th century Romantic landscape painter. Romanticists were artist who believed in the beauty and awe of nature and sought to depict emotions through their landscapes. While looking through some of his paintings, students talked about the different emotions his paintings evoked and why they may have experienced those feelings. Friedrich is most well-known for the painting Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog which can be seen below. This painting has been hugely inspirational for many movie and book covers and the kids loved seeing the influence it had.
Throughout this project, we really focused on space and value. We noticed that as things got farther away from us in the picture, the colors got lighter and became tints. We also noticed that things got higher on the painting. Things that are closer are lower and darker in the painting. We made sure to take these things into account when making our artwork.
The first day, students chose a blue, green, or purple background. They were expected to paint with whatever color paper they had chosen. Students scooped out a bit of their chosen color onto a magazine page (these work great as paint palettes because they can be thrown away when finished) and I came around and gave them a squirt of white paint. I told them that the tip to mixing tints was always to add the color to the white paint. Students added a touch of color to their white, mixed it, and painted a mountain towards the top of their paper. Then they added a little bit more of the color, making it slightly darker, and painted another mountain below the first one, making sure that it overlapped. They painted four rows of tinted mountains on the first day.
The second day, students scooped out some more of their color and I gave them a squirt of black this time. When mixing shades, we learned that this was opposite of how we mixed tints. With shades, we had to add a touch of black into the color instead of the other way around. Students painted four rows of shaded mountains, making sure they reached the bottom of their papers. When they were done, we had a discussion about what it would feel like to stand on top of a mountain and what kind of poses they would strike. We finished off class by taking out pictures in those poses.
The last day of the project, students received a strip of black paper and their photograph of their self from the previous class. Students tore one edge of the black strip of paper and then crumpled it up to give it some texture. They glued this to the bottom of their paper to make it look like the land they would be standing on. Then they cut out their picture and glued it down to look as if they were the wanderer on top of the mountain.
When they were finished, we did a little writing activity and placed ourselves into the role of the wanderer. We wrote about where we would travel to and what we would want to see/do while we were there. Students also had the option to draw a picture of where they would go on the back of the worksheet. I loved reading about where they would go!
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Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA President. Apple Teacher.