Curriculum - Special Needs - Take the scenic route

2nd July 2010 at 01:00
Explore the colours and textures used by landscape artists to help pupils with speech and language difficulties to create their own evocative depictions of the world around them

What the lesson is about

This is an art lesson about recreating landscapes, aimed at pupils with speech and language difficulties.

Aims: Pupils can:

- record and analyse first-hand observations;

- explore continuity and change in the purposes and audiences of artists;

- select from experience and imagination and develop ideas;

- investigate the visual and tactile qualities of materials and how processes are used to convey feelings and ideas.

Getting started

Show pupils landscape paintings and explain the key terminology: landscape, foreground, background and horizon. Ask the pupils to put labels in the correct places. Include pictures of a variety of landscapes to show that the horizon is not always visible.

Show pictures of Alfred Wallis seascapes (available from the Tate St Ives website and discuss how emotion can be expressed through colour. Explain the effect of using different materials, tools and styles.

Ask the pupils to paint their own seascapes. Explain that we need to consider other people's feelings before expressing a view, and ask the pupils to make constructive comments about their peers' work. What did they like about it? What would they have done differently? Ask them to think about how they would change their own work.

Introduce Gustav Klimt and his landscapes. What is the mood and feeling of his work? How would you feel if you were in the paintings? What would you hear, see, feel, smell? Ask the pupils to describe Klimt's work. What is its texture?

Discuss the use of warm and cool colours. Use landscape paintings to show how these can be used. Introduce the notion of complementary colours, using pictures of Impressionist paintings and those by Seurat or Van Gogh, to illustrate their use in landscapes.

Taking it further

Explain to the pupils that they are going to start their own project on landscape through a visit to a local park or gardens. At the park, discuss what they can see, hear and smell and ask them to record these in their sketchbooks.

Ask the pupils to collect a selection of natural materials and stick them into their sketchbooks. Explain that they are going to focus on producing a range of studies, rather than one picture, to reflect the area.

Ask the pupils to choose which materials they want to work with and encourage them to focus on an area of the park to start in. Ask them to look at the horizon lines, sky and landforms and trace them with their fingers. Can they see that sometimes these are not visible? Where are the man-made objects? How do they fit in with the natural environment?

Back in the classroom, ask the pupils to choose one of the subjects in their picture, such as a flower, and recreate it three-dimensionally. Ask them to make a colour wheel showing a blending of warm and cool colours.

Where to find it

A copy of the lesson plan, uploaded by Blossomhouseschool, can be found at

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