In the fall I introduced the 3rd graders to the "Wild Beasts" of France. We looked at examples of work by artists like Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, and noticed the non-realistic colors of their landscapes. I also reminded them that their paintings should have a foreground, a middle ground, and a background.
This was one of the funniest experiences during my full-time gig last fall. In one class, as we talked about what makes a landscape, one boy asked me if he could paint a desert. I said, sure, the desert is a landscape, with dunes and sand, the sky etc. Another child asked if he could do the beach. Of course! The shore, the sand and sky could all make a landscape scene.
As we worked on our projects I returned to the table with the desert landscape student. In the middle of his desert scene was a man who lay dead of dehydration. I told him that people live in the desert in many parts of the world without dying.
Then I visited the sea shore landscape. In the ocean was a shark jumping out of the surface of the water and devouring a swimmer. "Why all of the peril?" I asked the boys. I received devilish grins in return. Honestly, I love the fact that the kids were hesitant to make choices about what kind of landscape they would picture, but had no qualms about the death and destruction they would place within their landscapes! Ahh, boys...
Here are a few of my favorites, sans the drama. Enjoy!