Friday, January 20, 2012

African Sunsets

The 1st through 3rd grade classes recently completed this amazing silhouette project. We began with a lesson on color blending. We looked at the color wheel and discussed how colors could be blended if they are next to each other on the color wheel. We looked at a picture of a sunset and noticed the gradual color shift from yellow to orange to red. The students then painted using watercolors and tried to mimic this gradual color shift.

During the second class, students choose an animal to include in their drawing. Some of their options were zebras, giraffes, elephants and monkeys. We drew the animal over top of the painting and then painted the animal, ground and a tree in black. This gives the painting a great silhouette that really feels like the sun is setting in the background. I read the African folktale Anansi the Spider and told the students to focus on the pictures and designs in the story. We then created a similar design along one edge of the painting.

On the final day, we began by using a marker to clean up the edges of the black paint. Because the silhouette is so important, all the edges need to be very clear and smooth. We then created a native African figure and included it in the painting. We looked at some images from Masai natives and took note of the way they dressed, the types of jewelry they wore and their hair.

The final product is both visually stunning and a great introduction into the land of Africa!

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