What does the landscape say about YOU?

Happy Friday! In honor of the weekend, I’d like to share with you a unit that I recently finished with a group of Art I students. This unit explored the connection between the concept of IDENTITY and landscape. (Of course, at the heart of the lesson was artful explorations–both of the natural environment and SELF).

Prior to beginning their main project, students began thinking about their own identity through the creation of Identity Thumbprints. For this mini-assignment, I asked the students to either A.) Think of a song that they relate with; or B.) Write out words that describe who they are. They then selected 5-8 words to STYLIZE. Finally, they drew the lines for a thumbprint and wrote their words along the lines. Here are a few finished works:


For the second mini-explorations, students went outside to do a little nature sketching. For this assignment, I asked students to fold their paper into thirds. In the first section, they were asked to fill the space with CONTOUR LINE DRAWINGS. The middle section was to be filled with BLIND CONTOUR LINE DRAWINGS. And last of all, the final section was filled with BOTH contour and blind contour line drawings. After they had finished their sketches, we returned to the classroom, where students added shading, textures, and patterns to at least 4 different areas of their drawings. In addition, they had the task of connecting all three sections together. Here are a few examples:

After exploring both their own identity and the landscape, students began working on their own IDENTITY LANDSCAPES. For this mixed media project, students were given the freedom to express themselves through whatever art media they wished to use.

A few students chose to work directly from their nature sketches. Most, however, decided to create their own abstractions, using some of the shapes and forms they had studied in their sketches. The results–and concepts BEHIND the results–were fantastic! Here are a few finished projects:


The students seemed to really stay engaged with this project. In fact, many of the students would ask to take their projects home to work on, or they would come in outside of class, asking to work on their projects. πŸ™‚ That, in-and-of-itself is a victory for art! Giving students the opportunity to explore art media and concepts in their OWN ways provides them the opportunity to truly learn–and discover the art medium that really works for them!

I hope you enjoy this lesson–and if you decide to try it, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.

‘Til later…happy explorations!

10 thoughts on “What does the landscape say about YOU?

  1. It sounds to me like you have captured your students attention! Well done Tara!!!! You remind me of my 7th grade art teacher…I couldn’t stay away from her classroom!

    • Thanks so much, David! I sure hope I can eventually live up to your 7th grade art teacher! The more kids that can’t stay away from my classroom, the better! πŸ™‚

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