Frick Art & Historical Center

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1 Frick Art & Historical Center Three-Piece Landscapes: Creating Depth in Two-dimensional Space Suggested grade level: 3-6 Objectives: To compare and contrast foreground, middle ground and background in landscape painting. To observe and discuss types of horizon lines as an important element in landscape painting. To apply the elements of landscape to a watercolor painting. Vocabulary Landscape: a view of an outdoor scene Background: the most distant elements of a scene Foreground: the closest elements of a scene Middleground: the area between the foreground and background Horizon line: the line where earth and sky meet Perspective: The technique artists use to project an illusion of the threedimensional world onto a two-dimensional surface PA Academic Standards: Arts and Humanities A, B, C, E, H Materials: 2-3 examples of landscape scenes (mountains, beaches) showing background, middleground and foreground 1 piece of 8 ½ x 11 inch sketch paper 1 piece of 10 x 14 inch watercolor paper (sheet 1) 1 piece of 11 x 14 inch watercolor paper (sheet 2) Watercolor paint - palette or tube Watercolor brushes Cups of water Pencils Scissors Glue or glue sticks Paper towels

2 Discussion: This project, Three-Piece Landscapes helps students identify horizon lines, as well as three basic components of a landscape through a hands-on project combined with discussion. Through discussion of these elements, students learn how to better read a landscape painting. Select two or three paintings illustrating a variety of types of landscape to show to the class. At least one of the examples should include people. There should be a variety of horizon lines represented as well: high, low, flat, jagged. Discuss what kinds of landscapes these horizon lines tend to represent (i.e., a jagged line is a mountainous area; a straight line is a beach or prairie). After showing the students these examples, ask them to look at details in the paintings. How do the size of the objects in the foreground compare to the middleground and background? Ask them to point out what kinds of detail and color are found in each ground of the examples. Are the colors or details of objects in the distance not as bright or clear as those in the foreground? Ask students to look out the window and give examples that parallel to the paintings, pointing out objects that appear smaller in the background and closer in the foreground. Explain that this way of looking at the world created perspective drawing. Procedure - Watercolors: 1. Have students practice sketching a preliminary landscape on the 8 ½ x 11 inch sheet of paper. Keep the paper horizontal and use the whole sheet. a. Divide the sketch paper into three equal parts by drawing two horizontal lines across the paper with a pencil. These lines will serve as guides for the landscape sketch. The top section includes the horizon line and the background. The middle section represents the middleground, and the bottom section is the foreground. b. Have students fill the back/middle/foreground with elements they would like to include, such as mountains/trees/bushes or sky/ocean/dunes. Here you can remind students about perspective: objects that are closer will be larger and darker. The elements in the foreground should overlap over the middle and background. See figure 1 2. Give each student a piece of 10 x 14 in. watercolor paper (sheet #1). The paper should be Figure 1 horizontal.

3 Using the sketch as a guide, draw the background in the upper part of sheet #1. The horizon line is included in this section. The background can go beyond the horizon line because it will be partially covered by the middleground in future steps. Draw large features, such as mountains, sky and clouds in the background. Paint with watercolors, using faded colors. Set the finished background aside to dry. See figure 2 Figure 2 3. Distribute the 11 x 14 piece of paper (sheet #2). This sheet should also be used in a horizontal orientation. a. Cut two pieces lengthwise. Each piece should remain 14 inches long but the heights should be unequal. (For example the two pieces could be 8 x 14 and 3 x 14.) The smaller piece will be used to make the middleground and larger piece will be the foreground. See figure 3. Figure 3 4. Use the smaller piece, with your sketch as a guide, to draw all the details you want to include in the middleground: hills, buildings, trees, etc. Cut around the features following the outline and keeping the bottom of the middleground intact. See figure 4. Figure 4 a. Paint this cut-out middleground with watercolors, using more details and brighter colors than the background. Set aside to dry. 5. Take the large piece and repeat step 4, drawing all the elements you want to include in the foreground: flowers, trees, rocks, bushes, etc. Remember these elements will be larger than those in the middleground and background, because they are closer. This is key to creating the illusion of real perspective.

4 a. Cut around the features following the outline and keeping the bottom of the foreground intact. Paint with more vivid and darker colors. Set aside to dry. See figure 5. Figure 5 6. After the pieces have thoroughly dried, instruct students to glue the middleground to sheet #1. The middleground should partially overlap with the background. Glue the last part, the foreground, so it overlaps with the middleground. See figure 6. Figure 6 Extended lesson: The Three-Piece Landscape project can be connected to social studies, geography or literature by creating cityscapes or seascapes reflective of a location students have studied or read about. Jungles, rainforests, deserts, and historic locations are all exciting subjects and could provide good class presentation opportunities. Students can create unique, collaged landscapes by painting in the background and taking photographs of features to incorporate into the middleground and foreground. Take photos using any kind of camera or use images cut from magazines. Photocopy the images, enlarging them if needed. Tint them with watercolors and glue into place.

5 John Linnell (English, ) The Timber Wagon 1872 Oil on canvas Width 99 cm Guildhall Library and Guildhall Art Gallery, London.

6 Balthus (born Balthasar Klossowski de Rola) (French, ) Large Landscape with a Tree 1957 Oil on canvas x 162 cm Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.

7 Milton Avery (American, ) Yellow Sky 1958 Oil on canvas x cm Tate Gallery, London.

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