Lesson ideas

For primary activities, show the work of John Constable and his sketchbooks. In pupil sketchbooks record different cloud formations. Using the Norse myths as a starting point, give each pupil three narrow sheets of paper on which to depict the Hall of Mists of the Sea, the dying frost giant Ymir, and the ghastly citadel of Hel (introduce The Warrior Prints by Kuniyoshi as a stimulus and stylistic reference). Group the work in layered bands to display around the classroom.

For key stage 3, look at the way Turner used clouds and weather for dramatic effect in Snowstorm-steamship (on display at the Turner Gallery, London). Pupils can whirl round to experience a sense of visual swirling and disorientation. Convey this using two-dimensional media. (A project is featured in Secondary Art, BBC2 learning zone, 3.30am, January 31.) For key stage 4, study the work of Colour Field painters such as Frankenthaler and Jenkins. Experiment by pouring diluted water-based paints on to large sheets of fabric to explore cloud formations.

For sixth form work, study the integration of figures and clouds in Renaissance and Mannerist paintings. Then get pupils to digitally record each other in dramatic poses wearing sheets to simulate drapery and use ICT to integrate these with images of swirling clouds as research for a Mannerist-style painting.

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