CyberMuse Teachers - Lesson Plans
An Introduction to Pictorial Space
Lesson Plan Activity:
The Changing Composition: Grade K-3
This lesson introduces students to the study of pictorial space by considering some European paintings in the National Gallery of Canada?s collection..
Students will understand how the elements of design (line, shape, colour, and value) are used to create the illusion of a three-dimensional (pictorial) space.
Students will produce a two-dimensional image that depicts three-dimensional space using overlapping and the placement of elements within the picture plane.
Students will explain how different design strategies can be incorporated using the elements of design to create a wide range of compositions.
Cross Curriculum Links:
This lesson plan also explores the subject areas of mathematics, language arts, science and technology
3- 20 minute periods
Look & Discuss
Present and discuss a selection of the 10 featured artworks in the Artwork & Artists slideshow with your class, in particular Piero di Cosimo?s Vulcan and Aeolus, Meindert Hobbema?s Two Water-mills and Paul CÚzanne?s Portrait of a Peasant.
- White and light coloured paper
- Images from magazines
- A large sheet of Bristol board
- Play doe or plastercine
- Using an exacto knife, cut a square hole in the Bristol board to create a matte. This viewing matte can be used for the artworks of several students or one matte can be cut for each of the students. The interior matte should be about 22 X 28 cm and allow for at least 6 to 8 cm on each side.
Prepare an assortment of different coloured papers that are related to traditional colours we see in landscape paintings, blue, brown, green and beige.
Have students tear or cut strips of paper that can be used to represent different elements of a landscape. For example, light blue papers can be used to create sky, earth tones for a hillside greens or browns for foreground, darker blues for water, etc
Have students cut out magazine images for either little figures or for trees and bushes to be placed within the landscape. No more than four or five elements should be created.
Encourage students to place the papers over one another in order to create a composition.
Allow the students a chance to rearrange these elements to create figures that are closer to the picture plane and further away. How does this placement change the scale of these figures?
Have students experiment with the horizon line to create a range of spatial effects.
Students should select their favourite composition and attach all the loose elements with glue to permanently affix their composition.
Frame the elements using the black matte.
Add finishing details and highlights to your composition with markers or pencils.
Take it Further
The students can create simple sequences of images using the same elements by moving elements up and down the picture plane to create the idea of a changing composition. This creates a form of animation, where the background remains constant but the figures move within the pictorial space. You can even take a series of photographs to document the changing positions of the figures in space. For example, the movement of a figure towards the front of the picture plane suggests a movement towards the viewer, or the reverse, as he or she appears to move away from the viewer.
The student demonstrates little understanding of how the elements are used to create pictorial space.
The student demonstrates understanding of how the elements are used to create pictorial space.
The student demonstrates a thorough understanding of how the elements are used to create pictorial space.
The student depicts three-dimensional space in a limited way, using little overlapping or variation in the placement of elements on the picture plane.
The student depicts three-dimensional space, using overlapping and the placement of elements on the picture plane.
The student depicts three-dimensional space convincingly, using overlapping and much variation in the placement of elements on the picture plane.
The student can explain, with difficulty, how one or two design strategies are used.
The student can explain how two or more design strategies are used.
The student can explain thoroughly how several design strategies are used.