I saw a post, ages ago, on one of my favourite art teacher blogs, ARTE A SCUOLA.COM, full of patterned landscapes which I thought were gorgeous. As I have done with a lot of this blog’s brilliant ideas, I tucked the idea away on MY PINTEREST BOARDS, saving it up for just the right time, which happened to be at the start of our school year 2015.
I sort of went a bit Zentangle mad at the start of this year and ended up with the grade 3s doing Zentangle hands,
the grade 4s doing Zentangle feet
and these coloured Zentangle landscapes being done by the grade 5 students.
All three grade levels started off looking at and discussing examples of patterns and zentangles from MY PATTERNS AND ZENTANGLES PINTEREST BOARD on the projection screen. It was then time to get into a detailed pattern drawing frame of mind so I printed off about 15 pattern sample idea sheets, also on my patterns and zentangles pinterest board, for each table and then each student was given a grid sheet of 20 squares to glue into their art journal. The students had to use scrap paper and a pencil to come up with a pattern that they liked and then use a black fine liner to fill one of the grid squares on their sheet, thus creating their own pattern resource in their art journal. The aim was to finish off 5 grid squares at the end of the first session.
The grade 5 students, at their next session, discussed landscapes and looked at a couple of the samples from ARTE A SCUOLA.COM The students suggested writing up a list of elements for the landscape on the whiteboard which they could follow while they were drawing their landscape outlines in pencil. I reinforced with the students that the list was to be seen as a guideline rather than a recipe and they could add or take away elements as they saw fit. The landscape was drawn on A3 cartridge paper.
All students brought their pencil landscape shapes to me for a brief one on one discussion directed at their specific ability level – DIFFERENTIATION! Is the work balanced? What can you do to your tree so it doesn’t look so top heavy? Which elements have you put in your middleground?
Interestingly every grade 5 ‘discovered’ that if their landscape included a body of water it “just didn’t look right” or it “made me feel weird” unless the edge of the land behind the water was straight/horizontal – hooray, no more slanted lakes or rivers!!!
So all students then went over their pencil landscape outlines with thick black texta and commenced the pattern work using thick coloured pencils or coloured textas. There was only one rule for the pattern work, once you have used a pattern you cannot use it again!
These were wonderful sessions for stopping half way for a “studio walk” around the art room where the children move from table to table quietly and look at each others unfinished work. The “oohs” and “aahs” and discussions about the work were fantastic! And, no, it is not just copying, if you see a pattern that you like on someone else’s work, and get an idea for your own work from that. Hadn’t we already been doing just that with the idea sheets on the tables??? And could you possibly reproduce such an intricate pattern EXACTLY the same????
I was astounded with the amount of effort some of the students put into these pieces! In hindsight A3 was probably too big to cover with such intricate patterns. These artworks took much longer to finish that I anticipated and the level of concentration required to get a fair bit done in one session was just too much for some students. However, I’m sure the students would say it was worth it when you can see the quality of work which was produced. Whatever their ability level, every student felt a great sense of achievement when the work was finally finished!
Thanks for looking and I’m sure my grade 5 students would appreciate it if you left them a comment.