Lesson 7: Painting a New Future

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students will draw from the information they learned in lesson #6 about what makes a dog happy. They will use this information to paint a background that shows a happy future for their dog.

Lesson Materials

  1. The Secret Language of Colour by Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut. This is a great reference book that could be used at any point throughout the art aspects of the Empathy Pawject lessons. Page 60-61 have colourful examples of how the Rayleigh scattering effects are evident on different sunset and sunrise images, useful for the portrait backgrounds.
  2. a palette of paint for each student including neutral, warm and cool colours. I included some metallic paints here too.
  3. painting tools (as mentioned in the previous lessons, I give the students three brushes to work with: a large square shader, a medium square shader, and a tiny liner brush for details)
  4. a bucket of watervideo
  5. dog profiles
  6. portraits in progress
  7. sketchbooks or paper & a pencil

Go to PDF for printable file

Curriculum outcomes

(from the Alberta Education Program of Studies for Grade 4 Art)

  • Explore drawing media (AC: 10iii a) (CHC 10h)
  • Explore painting media (AC: 10iii b) (CHC 10h)
  • Focal point: identify (AC: 3d & e, 4f, 7a & c)
  • Focal point: create and add supporting details (AC: 7a & c)
  • Value (Element of Art): use to create illusion of space (AC: 4e, 6c)
  • Space (Element of Art): create shapes that suggest foreground, midground, background (AC: 4e)

Learning Activity

Group Discussion:
After reviewing the ideas recorded from yesterday’s lesson, have the students think about dogs needs from an empathetic point of view. Discussion Points:

  • If a dog is in a situation that made them feel uncomfortable or worried, can you put yourself into their shoes (or paw prints) and imagine how they feel?
  • If a dog is offered a treat, a hiking adventure or a new soft bed to sleep in, can you imagine how that will make them feel?

Writing Activity:
Next, using their sketchbooks, ask students to write in the things they think their adoptable dog would like to see in their future. Students can choose from:

  • A fiction piece from the dog’s perspective
  • A paragraph describing the perfect future for their dog
  • A simple list outlining all of the things, material and otherwise, that would help their dog feel loved, cared for and safe

You can also provide time for students to sketch out their ideas before they begin painting on the canvasses.

Review Elements of Art:

  • Space: talk about how shape and sized create and suggest a foreground, a middle ground, and a background.
  • Focal point: this is the most important part of the art piece. The focal point may not be in the center of the art work, but it is where the eye is drawn to. Colour, contrast and structure are three things that help to develop a focal point.

Let the students know that artists can work back and forth from foreground to background. They do not need to worry about making a mistake or accidently going on top of the dog they have painted as they will be making small alterations and adding details in the next lesson!
There is no right or wrong way to paint a background. Different children are going to approach this in different ways. You may have some children wanting to paint impasto style with thick painterly brushstrokes right away, and some may want to build their scene up in thin layers like the washes they learned to do previously. Some may ask for a pencil to sketch out their ideas on the canvas before they begin to paint. The teacher’s job at this point is to circulate and offer technical help and cheer on the
children’s amazing efforts!

Go to PDF for printable file

End of Class Activity

At the end of this class have your students take a look at their portraits and see what details and finishing touches they would like to add to their paintings. The next class will be a working period where, with a little guidance from their teacher, they should be able to finish off their portraits!