Visual Arts Planning: Trees, Forests 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

drawing by touch

This resource 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: twigs

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

Led by artist educator, Rosie James, pupils explore observational drawing techniques followed by an immersive exploration of colour and scale using wax crayons and Brusho Crystal Colours.

inspired! 'the tree' by Hauxton primary

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‘.

50 minutes looking and sketching

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

drawing 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.

drawing the savannah

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

Artists Caroline Wendling and Deborah Wilenski 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.

exploring the hedgerow

Artist Sara Dudman provides examples and inspiration for a collaborative classroom project. Children take a walk, responding to the local environment and hedgerows to create colourful ‘network’ drawings and sketches.

sketching from a source

This project encourages students to develop their sketchbook skills by using their observational drawings to create new imagery and designs.

animal habitats: an eco mural

The project explores animal habitats and took the form of a large scale mural pasted onto boards and mounted on an empty brick wall within school grounds.

our river -a communal drawing

Using Georges Seurat’s “Bathers at Asnières” (1884) as inspiration, a group of year 5 children create a layered drawing and ‘wax resist’ on a massive scale!

layered landscapes

Artist Kittie Jones 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.

explore and draw

Facilitated by artist Cathy Mills, relaxing physical exercise are followed by drawing in the natural environment.

painting the storm

The following project shares the journey and outcome of a weather-inspired exploration of watercolour and graphite, with Year 5 and 6 pupils.

building an indoor forest!

This was a quick and energetic session whereby teenagers transformed their studio into a forest in just an hour!

Sculpture and Mixed Media

making tree house sculptures

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

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

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

Artist Emma Davies shares her working process through a sculptural sketchbook diary – using drawing and painting to recreate a 3D record of a countryside walk.

the winter tree challenge

An hour long session 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.

water and rock: building drawings

In this one and a quarter hour long session, teenagers had the opportunity to explore drawing rocks and building drawings with modroc and graphite.

Working with Dogwood

In this post Swedish Artist Mostyn de Beer reflects on his experience working with a particular natural material – dogwood.

Touch Wood

Talking to two artists about using and combining different materials in their practice, and the effect their art has on the environment.
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