>Students will describe and demonstrate approaches to creating mood and movement in a river-focussed artistic piece
>Powerpoint presentation featuring ‘river art’ (for the Lesson) and ‘masks’ (for the Extension). You will need to find this material via the Internet or school library. We’ve provided some suggestions at the end of this lesson plan for web sites you may find helpful.
Rivers impact the land, sea and air around us, filling these things with change and movement. When artists display rivers in their art, the result is usually a view of power and a strong sense of mood at work, such as in Bingham’s Fur Traders Descending the Missouri and S.T. Gill’s Diggings at Mount Alexander.
In this lesson students will discuss the rivers represented in the works of art you chose to include in the ‘River Art’ Powerpoint presentation, and consider ways the artists use line, shape, form, and colour to create a sense of movement and mood in their works of art.
Canoeing on dusk … river art captured by camera. Photograph: Bill Phillips
1. Discuss the works of art with the students. Ask them to look for examples of movement in the works. What did the artists use to show movement? Ask students to describe the events that might have preceded the moment depicted in each painting and what is about to happen in the scene.
2. Ask the students to define the elements of each artwork which express the mood.
3. Have the students help you create a list of moods when looking at rivers and water. Make a second list of the outcomes that often result from these moods.
4. Have students select a mood to use as the subject of their own artwork.
How could they best show this mood with a river?
What would it look like?
Would the student be in the picture?
Would there be other people in the picture?
Or, would there be some kind of object, such as a tree, car, ship, house?
What movement would be occurring?
How would the river and human responses to it them appear to an observer of this scene?
5. At a nearby river, stream or wetland, have the students create a multimedia artwork that shows movement and mood in terms of their river. Get them to do this using collage materials (torn paper, yarn scraps, etc.), natural materials gathered from the site (sustainably!), and crayons/markers and paints. Students may also like to demonstrate their ideas in a drawing.
>Looking at the “Mask” Powerpoint presentation, discuss the following questions with your students:
What material was used to make the masks?
What parts represent water forms or its characteristics?
What do the masks say about the maker’s relationship with water?