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Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture

Pupils study classical painters as part of their art curriculum, but what about a contemporary artist like David Hockney?

Contemporary art What is striking about this picture? Is it the colours, the shapes, the grandeur? How does a painting by a modern artist compare with a photograph, or a more "realistic" painting (compare wit h "trompe l'oeil" painting, TES Big Picture June 4)? The picture showsa hot region of the United States; what other paintings have such intensely blue skies (eg, Mediterranean pictures from Italy, Spain and France; northern skiesin British and Dutch paintingsoften more grey)?

The Grand Canyon Where is the Grand Canyon (Arizona, desert area in the United States)? How is a canyon formed (river cuts through rock which is being pushed upwards, dry climate, little water erosion)? Think about the dimensions (1.6 kilometresdeep - from your classroom to where?; 446 kilometres long - from your school to where?).

Create a mural Is there an unsightly wall or hutthat would benefit from a mural?Paint the wall white. Sketch outand paint your class mural. I know a school where each class painted and signed their own individual Matisse- typ leaf in bright acrylic colours,covered with a matt varnish; another got a local artist to spray a large lionshape on to a wall and then madean impressive ceramic muralby cementing on broken tilesand china (cup handles make agood mane!).

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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