Visual Arts Planning: Trees, Forest and Landscape

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We hope that these exciting and varied resources on the theme of trees, forest and landscape will help  children with an exploration of drawing, painting and making.  Many of the activities can be adapted to different levels of experience throughout the Key Stages.

Please feel free to add links to other resources, or share your experiences and ideas, via the comments box below.

Drawing projects on the theme of trees, forest and landscape

"Feely" Drawings or Drawing by Touch - A 5 Minute Drawing Exercise

This resouce encourages children to become aware of the different ways they can become familiar with their subject matter, in addition to using their sense of sight.

Helping Children to Draw Larger!

A quick 5 minute drawing exercise to encourage children to fill the page with their drawing. Useful as a warm-up or icebreaker.

Continuous Line Drawings (Squiggle Drawings) of Sticks

This resource helps children tune into their subject matter through careful looking and quietens them for drawing.

Autumn Floor Drawings

This project encourages children to explore different media. They choose from a collection of autumn objects (leaves, twigs, conkers, acorns etc.) and create an ‘autumn floor’ of drawings using continuous line.

Wax Resist Autumn Leaves by Rosie James

Led by artist educator, Rosie James, pupils from Dent C of E Primary School, in the Yorkshire Dales, explored observational drawing techniques followed by an immersive exploration of colour and scale using wax crayons and Brusho Crystal Colours.

Inspired! ‘The Tree’ by Year One and Two at Hauxton Primary School

In this post, Pamela Stewart shares the submission by Hauxton Primary School, Cambridgeshire for Inspire: A Celebration of Children’s Art in Response to Jacopo del Sellaio’s Cupid and Psyche by Year One and Two pupils in ‘Owl Class‘. The pupils share their Inspire journey and all that they learned in response to looking at the Renaissance painting at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

50 Minutes Looking and Sketching Autumn Leaves

A wonderful opportunity to use sketching to tune into this beautiful time of the year. This is a short session, in which teenagers are led on guided drawing exercises, in their sketchbooks, to get them looking and drawing.

Drawing Outside & Never-Ending Landscapes

Inspired by the notion of Myriorama cards that create “never-ending landscapes”, children take inspiration from observational drawing and then let these drawings evolve into something more personal and expressive – discovering and creating new landscapes and spaces.

Painting the Savannah by Chloe Williams

An useful resource to introduce children to a range of art practices: mono printing, drawing, colour mixing, painting, landscapes, skyscapes, stencils, collage and scale.

Woodland Exploration by Caroline Wendling and Deborah Wilenski

Artists encourage young children to make an exciting exploration of woodland using art and imagination: claywork, drawing and storying are used to bring their ideas alive back in the classroom.

Hedgerow Art by Sara Dudman

This resource provides examples and inspiration for a collaborative classroom project. Children take a walk, responding to the local environment to create colourful ‘network’ drawings and sketches from which they make beautiful, scroll-style, hedgerow paintings.

Sketching from a Source and using Photocopies to Develop a Sketchbook Approach

This project encourages students to develop their sketchbook skills by using their observational drawings to create new imagery and designs. Teenagers practice sketching from a source using improvised tools, soluble graphite and ink and then manipulating photocopies of the drawings, to create exciting sketchbook pages of abstracted collages.

Our River – Year Five Pupils Build a Communal Drawing in Four Steps

An AccessArt-led workshop session for a Year 5 class at Ridgefield Primary School, Cambridge as part of their Art Week. Using Georges Seurat’s “Bathers at Asnières” (1884) as inspiration, the children created a layered drawing and ‘wax resist’ on a massive scale – the pupils loved it!

Layered Landscapes: Working in Mixed Media on Location with Kittie Jones

This resource has been contributed by artist, Kittie Jones. It provides a fantastic insight into her creative process when she is working outside, using ink wash, charcoal, soft pastels, gum arabic and drawing pencils. It also highlights the importance of sketchbook work and drawing in informing the finished piece. The resource will inspire all ages we are sure, and the working methodology could easily be adapted for even primary-aged children, inspiring them to use their sketchbooks and draw outside.

Explore and Draw

This innovative drawing and nature project for children ages 7 -13 yrs was facilitated by artist, Cathy Mills. Five workshops took place at the Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud, Glos. Cathy introduced relaxing physical exercises at the beginning of each session to help focus the children then several different approaches to drawing were explored, linking into the natural environment of Stratford Park and the huge trees there. The children were taken out into the park to gather ideas, materials and inspiration and then encouraged to make large scale drawings to record their experiences.

Painting the Storm at Bourne Academy

The following project shares the journey and outcome of a weather-inspired exploration of watercolour and graphite, with Year 5 and 6 pupils. Working with the whole class, artist Paula Briggs gave the children the opportunity to explore the materials in an open-ended, yet guided manner, resulting in a large amount of sketchbook-type work. The imagery created was then photographed and used to create a short animation which celebrates the children’s work.

Be Inspired to Inspire

This was a quick and energetic session whereby teenagers transformed their studio into a forest in just an hour! Inspired by a walk earlier in the day, Sheila Ceccarelli set students the challenge of transforming the studio space into their own bluebell forest using black sugar paper as a drawing material.

Sculpture and an Illustrated Book

Art Week at Primary School

An introduction to making tree house sculptures, with the focus on how to manipulate and construct materials, balance elements and “design through making”.

Illustrating Stories: Creating a Storyboard and First Dummy Book

An exciting resource to encourage children to explore storytelling, drawing and collage and to create their own illustrated book with text and images.

Landscape Sculptures in Wire and Mixed Media

Teenagers are introduced to modelling wire and modroc as construction materials and use the theme of landscape to explore drawing and making simultaneously.

Diary of a Sculptural Sketchbook

Emma Davies shares her working process through a sculptural sketchbook diary. Working both outside and in the studio, Emma uses drawing and painting to recreate a 3D record of a countryside walk.

The Winter Tree Challenge: A Combined Sculpture & Drawing Project!

This post could be adapted for all ages. It shares an hour long session at the AccessArt Art Lab, in which young teenagers (12 and 13 years) worked on two projects simultaneously: a shared winter forest drawing in charcoal, and a sculpture challenge to make a winter tree. The time and material constraints resulted in an energetic and inventive session.

Water and Rock: Teenagers explore building drawings with graphite and modroc

Graphite and plaster are themselves found in the earth and seem like the perfect medium for exploring inspiring pieces of flint and chalk and the physicality of rocks. In this one and a quarter hour long session, teenagers had the opportunity to explore drawing rocks and building drawings with modroc and graphite.

Inspired by Google Earth: Making

In a session led by Paula Briggs, young children makes models inspired by the landscape and features on the satellite imagery.


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