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Kentucky Educational Television
Lesson Plan

Context: This lesson uses the work of five landscape painters as a springboard for discussion and analysis and as inspiration for a landscape painting activity. Because the five artists are sprinkled throughout the first two programs—“Realism” and “Expressionism”—in KET’s Looking at Painting series, teachers may find it easiest to focus on the painters’ work in the web site Gallery or to watch the two programs in their entirety while focusing students on comparing the approaches to landscape painting demonstrated by Dal Macon and Laurin Notheisen in Program 1 and Patrick Adams, Guinever Smith, and Karen Spears in Program 2. For those teachers wishing to use specific video segments only, in- and out-cues are listed below.

Activity: Painting a Landscape

Video: Looking at Painting, Program 1: “Realism” and Program 2: “Expressionism”

Grade Level: high school

Length of Lesson: 10 class sessions

Web Site Resources:
Dal Macon: biography; five paintings beginning at gallery page 13
Laurin Notheisen: biography; five paintings beginning at gallery page 20
Patrick Adams: biography; five paintings beginning at gallery page 34
Guinever Smith: biography; five paintings beginning at gallery page 46
Karen Spears: biography; five paintings beginning at gallery page 52


From Program 1:
Excerpts from “Origins”
  04:06-05:30  Dal Macon about schooling
In-cue: “With any artist ...”
Out-cue: “... continued to do ever since.”
  05:31-06:40  Laurin Notheisen about early influences
In-cue: “I think I was taking art lessons ...”
Out-cue: “... jewel-like presence in Vermeer.”
  08:15-08:45  Laurin Notheisen about development
In-cue: “I’d say when I started college ...”
Out-cue: “... to see if they fit.”
Excerpts from “Process”
  13:11-14:43  Dal Macon about the stages of his work
In-cue: “What I’m doing here ...”
Out-cue: “... psychological feeling to the interior.”
  14:44-16:29  Laurin Notheisen about how she sets about painting landscapes
In-cue: “I start out loose ...”
Out-cue: “... patchworking.”
Excerpts from “Ideas”
  19:40-21:35  Laurin Notheisen about places she chooses to paint and why; the “hook”
In-cue: “Right now I’m dealing with ...”
Out-cue: “... something beautiful.”
  21:36-26:14  Dal Macon about themes, subjects of his work
In-cue: “My expression is most authentic ...”
Out-cue: “... this particular location.”
From Program 2:
Excerpts from “Origins”
  02:11-03:14  Karen Spears about early desire to be an artist
In-cue: “When I first had inklings ...”
Out-cue: “... pretty average surburban kid.”
  05:37-06:49  Guinever Smith about growing up in a house full of art
In-cue: “I grew up in my grandfather’s house ...”
Out-cue: “... imagery to look at.”
  06:50-10:20  Patrick Adams about early influences
In-cue: “I grew up in the middle of a cornfield ...”
Out-cue: “... shooting for.”
  10:21-11:21  Karen Spears about the role geography plays in her work
In-cue: “I’m originally from Texas ...”
Out-cue: “... comfortable with vistas.”
  12:15-14:05  Guinever Smith about becoming a painter and travel
In-cue: “I was very interested in the arts ...”
Out-cue: “... I stayed away from landscapes.”
  14:58-16:26  Karen Spears about doubts
In-cue: “It was really a question my mother ...”
Out-cue: “... very small minority.”
  17:54-18:46  Patrick Adams about influences (Diebenkorn)
In-cue: “In college my whole attitude ...”
Out-cue: “... always in tune with each other.”
  19:44-20:40  Karen Spears about influences (Munch, German expressionists, Van Gogh)
In-cue: “One of the most influential artists ...”
Out-cue: “... images for him.”
Excerpts from “Ideas/Process”
  21:42-23:39  Patrick Adams about what’s in his landscapes
In-cue: “Kentucky has certainly inspired my painting ...”
Out-cue: “... in Church, someone like that.”
  23:40-25:12  Guinever Smith about what she’s trying to achieve
In-cue: “I think I like to be right on the knife’s edge ...”
Out-cue: “... and that is all kind of up to me.”
  27:22-29:30  Karen Spears about how her paintings come out of her experience
In-cue: “Probably the first thing that starts me off ...”
Out-cue: “... works for me.”
  32:49-33:48  Karen Spears about her attraction to paint
In-cue: “I love the surface of a painting ...”
Out-cue: “... big statement with my work.”
  33:49-34:40  Patrick Adams about painting from memory
In-cue: “Someone people ask me ...”
Out-cue: “... being in that particular place.”
  34:40-37:12  Guinever Smith about painting series
In-cue: “I think that you could say ...”
Out-cue: “... other aspects of that painted subject, I guess.”
  37:13-38:10  Karen Spears about how her experience as a mom has affected her work
In-cue: “I shifted more towards making ...”
Out-cue: “... entertain me visually, too.”
  41:21-42:08  Karen Spears about a painting she’s working on
In-cue: “It was a night that I guess was unique ...”
Out-cue: “... get in there and make the change.”

Questions To Guide Your Instruction
Ask these questions of your students at the beginning of the first class period:

  1. What is a landscape?
  2. Why are there more landscape paintings than seascapes?
  3. What are some problems an artist might encounter while working outdoors?
  4. What might be advantages and disadvantages to working directly outdoors compared to working from a photograph of the same scene?
  5. How could an artist create a particular mood or feeling in a landscape painting?

Students will:

  1. exercise their perceptual skills when viewing a landscape.
  2. study landscape paintings by famous artists.
  3. interpret nature in a personal way.
  4. learn how to limit and select what to draw.

Kentucky Core Content for Assessment:
AH-H-4.1.41, AH-H-4.1.31, AH-H-4.1.32, AH-H-4.1.33, AH-H-4.1.36

Critical Vocabulary:
landscape, scale, selective seeing, close-ups, horizon and eye-level lines, space, texture, color, shape, form, balance, transition, unity

Instructional Strategies and Activities
Show Looking at Painting program segments that highlight landscape painters Dal Macon and Laurin Notheisen (Program 1: “Realism”) and Patrick Adams, Guinever Smith, and Karen Spears (Program 2: “Expressionism”) and/or look at their work in the web site Gallery. Lead a discussion about the two different approaches to the same subject matter. Also, point out that some painters work on site, others work from photographs they have taken, and still others work from their memory of a location. Lead a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Lead a discussion about mood and feeling in landscape paintings; show work by some of the following artists:

  • J.M.W. Turner
  • Albert Ryder
  • John Constable
  • Camille Corot
  • Claude Monet
  • Japanese and Chinese painters

Give these instructions before taking your students outside to do sketches in a sketchbook or on small sheets of paper:

  1. Look for simple, large shapes before being overwhelmed by detail. (Remind them to think about Guinever Smith’s and Patrick Adams’ paintings.)
  2. Use the viewfinder not only to zoom in on a selected area but also to block out distracting details. Also, refer back to the viewfinder occasionally, but don’t hold it in place the whole time you are drawing.
  3. Make notes, both visual and verbal, about things you might want to include in the painting.
  4. This out-of-class trip is to make sketches and take notes, not to do a finished drawing.

Plan and conduct a sketching trip outside the school or an all-day trip to a state park or other appropriate place to allow students to do their planning sketches.

Have students transfer their chosen plan to large, heavy drawing paper or canvas using the grid method; or they could loosely sketch directly, without using guidelines. Have students develop their paintings, interpreting their views of nature in their own personal ways. Even if they are working in a realistic manner, have them express basic feelings or reactions about the scene and not try to exactly duplicate the color, texture, line, and shape of each leaf, twig, or other object in the work.

As they develop their paintings, talk to them about various ways of giving the illusion of depth. Those might include the following:

  1. Place larger objects at the bottom of the page and smaller ones at the top.
  2. Have objects overlap one another.
  3. Paint closer objects with more textures and other details, with stronger value contrasts.
  4. Paint the background with low-intensity (muted, dulled) colors to make it appear to recede in space.
  5. Paint objects in the foreground with high-intensity colors (brighter) to make them appear to project.

Also, during the painting process, instruct the students to work on larger areas first, using their largest brushes, and the smallest areas last, using detail brushes. Remind them that this is a painting, not a line drawing to simply be “colored in” with paint. Refer back to the way Mark Priest painted his own hand: He painted loosely and directly onto the canvas, with very little or no drawing (see Looking at Painting Program 2: “Expressionism”).

paint—tempera or acrylic
heavy drawing paper or canvas
mixing palette
water containers
rags or paper towels
drawing board with clips or tape (optional)
ruler or other straight edge

Books, videos, and web site used in this lesson:

  • Brommer, Gerald F. and Nancy K. Kinne. Exploring Painting. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, Inc., 1995.
  • Katz, Elizabeth L., E. Louis Lankford, and Janice D. Plank. Themes and Foundations of Art. Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company, 2000.
  • Arttalk, Fine Art Transparencies and Instructor’s Guide. New York: Glencoe Macmillan/McGraw Hill, 1995.
  • Ragans, Rosalind. Arttalk, Teacher’s Wraparound Edition. New York: Glencoe Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, 1995.
  • Looking at Painting, Program 1: “Realism”
  • Looking at Painting, Program 2: “Expressionism”
  • Looking at Painting web site Gallery

Tips for Students
Share these techniques with your students:

How to use a viewfinder:

Using a viewfinder helps you zoom in on an area of the subject that you want to draw/paint. To make a viewfinder, cut a rectangular hole in a file card or scrap piece of mat board. Cut the opening to correspond to the proportions of the finished artwork. To use the viewfinder:

  1. Hold the frame at arm’s length and look through it at your subject. Imagine that the opening represents your paper or canvas.
  2. You can decide how much of the subject you want to include by moving the viewfinder up, down, or sideways.
  3. Move the viewfinder closer or farther away to include fewer or more objects.
  4. Use the viewfinder vertically and horizontally to select the area.
  5. Once you select the area, make notes on your sketch showing where major forms and shapes are located and where they run out of the picture. (Ragans, Arttalk, p. 351)

How to transfer a thumbnail sketch to a large surface for painting using a grid:

  1. Fold and crease the small sketch into 16 equal spaces.
  2. Measure the large painting surface and divide it into four equal spaces both horizontally and vertically.
  3. Lightly sketch grid lines on the larger paper or canvas.
  4. Draw the sketch section by section, paying close attention to proportions and sizes. (Ragans, Arttalk, p. 352)

If the teacher feels it is necessary, the students could do some practice before developing their paintings. That practice could include the following techniques:

  • wet paint into wet paint
  • wet paint onto dry paper
  • graded washes
  • stippling
  • flicking a loaded brush to get dappled textures

Assessment and Scoring Guide
Distinguished: Student effectively limited and selected an area to draw. Student made valuable, insightful contributions to the class discussions. Student successfully interpreted nature in his/her own way rather than trying to copy exactly what was seen. Student successfully completed the work in time allotted.
Proficient: Student limited and selected area to draw after a short time. Student made good contributions to the class discussions. Student interpreted nature in a personal way. Student completed the work on time.
Apprentice: Student had problems with selecting an area to draw and was unable to complete much of the preliminary sketch. Student contributed to the class discussions. Student tried to make an exact copy of the selected area. Student completed some of the work in the time allotted.
Novice: Student did not limit the area to draw and got almost no sketching completed. Student did not contribute to the class discussions or made inappropriate comments. Student made no attempt to interpret nature in a personal way. Student did not complete the work.

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