Birch Trees, 4th Grade

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This 4th grade art lesson began with an Emaze presentation!! This amazing visual experience gave us a up close and personal look at Gustav’s Klimt’s, Birch Trees series! We really felt like we were walking around an art gallery looking at the work of this famous artist! We used our observational skills to answer the following questions, what do you see? What you think? What do you wonder?

Gustav Klimt

After answering questions, we discussed how artists create a sense of space in landscapes. We observed that things closest to us were darker, more detailed, and larger in size. The opposite was true about things further away. They appeared lighter and smaller in size.

Day 1 got started with a demo using different sized masking tape to block off our birch trees and create our realistic background. In order to make sure our tape wasn’t too sticky, we used lint from our clothing, to take some of the stick off. We also created and illusion of depth by making our trees thicker in the foreground and thinner in the middle and background. Next, we created a horizontal line that separating our sky from our ground. We used warm and cool   watercolors to bring our landscape to life. We practiced different watercolor techniques like wet-into-wet, dry brush, and lifting.  If there was time, students could remove their tape from their birch trees shape.

On Day 2, we focused on creating the textures observed in the fallen leaves and birch tree. We learned how to reuse old credit cards as stamps, dipping them in black tempera paint and scrapping them on our birch trees shape.  This created the black and gray horizontal marking found on real birch trees. Lastly, we used our paint brushes to create quick dashes of autumn colors for our fallen leaves.  This texture was similar to the the one found in Gustav’s Klimt’s, Birch Forest I.  I’ve been wanting to do a birch tree art lesson for years and this one did not disappoint! It was so much fun from start to finish. These autumn landscapes are just fantastic!

Our autumn birch trees are currently outside the art room! They have gotten a lot of attention from parents, staff, and students  walking by!

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