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It is with great enthusiasm that we present Where Eagles Soar. The first of the three programs of SERIES II, Where Eagles Soar has just the right balance between academic and historical information, and production activities.

Although children of the ten to twelve age group may be unsure of their drawing ability, they are more confident having completed SERIES I. As well, they are more capable in their attempts at 3-dimensional construction now that they are older. Because of this increased ability, their response to the title lesson ("Where Eagles Soar") has been overwhelming. "I just love this!" echoes throughout the classroom as students cut snowcaps for their overlapping mountain peaks, build rock backdrops for plastic wrap waterfalls, and carefully shape the plasticene feathers of the bald eagle, the featured attraction of their cleverly designed eagle habitats.

To accommodate a longer attention span, several production activities extend over a number of weeks - the eagle habitats, for example. The 28 lessons (7 units x 4 weekly lessons) will easily expand to at least 32 classes, as the creative work involved in certain projects continues beyond the 4 weeks allotted in that particular unit. Because of this, the seasonal unit has been omitted from SERIES II.

Look forward to the introduction of an exciting new program, and the inclusion of your 10- to 12-year-olds. You might want to include your 13-year- olds as well for the first year or two. God bless you in your continuing efforts to provide art education for your students.

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Analyzing a Composition

What are the things we look for when we analyze an artistic composition? The name of the artist, the style, and the time period are all important, but in SERIES II the principles of design are also examined, and many are applied in student work. The painting above is a good example of several principles of design, and it is one that is analyzed in Where Eagles Soar. The children will examine the painting as follows:

Vincent van Gogh, "The Starry Night," 1889,
Museum of Modern Art, New York

Notice the swirling, choppy brushstrokes. Describe what sort of texture these brushstrokes give the painting? (rough, choppy, jagged, wavy, etc.) Is the whole painting done in the same manner? (yes) Using the same style and quality of stroke creates a oneness or sameness referred to as unity. This oneness helps to hold the painting together as a complete unit. If any part of the painting were done with a smooth brushstroke or in a realistic style, that part would look out of place and would not blend in. Explain how color is also used to achieve unity. (mainly bluish tones with some green, interrupted with repeating yellow - the same color tones are used throughout)

Notice how the swirls of blue, white and yellow create movement as the eye is drawn across the sky from left to right; yet, the cypress tree on the left and the bright moon on the right prevent the eye from "falling out" of the composition on either side. If we were to cover up the moon on the right, how would this affect the composition? Does the foreboding cypress tend to weigh heavily on the left side? If we covered up the cypress, does the moon attract too much attention to the right upper corner? By putting two strong elements opposite each other, van Gogh has achieved a balance between the cypress and the moon, the two large objects in the painting.

We have already talked about movement being formed in The Starry Night by the swirls of color in the sky. But movement is created in the painting in another way as well. The eye tends to be attracted by the repetition of shapes or colors, darting from one shape to another similar shape. This repetition is present in The Starry Night. Identify the repeating shapes and colors in the sky. (yellow circles)

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Introducting: Where Eagles Soar
Series II is here!

Here's a sample of what your students will learn:

  • Historical facts about the lives and works of prominent artists throughout history
  • How to apply scriptural principles in order to learn from the lives of well-known artists. For example: the students observe the jealousy that existed between Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and learn to "rejoice with those who rejoice" rather than to give in to strife
  • To study the Renaissance as a humanistic age which glorified man's achievements rather than acknowledging God
  • To identify the Reformation as a return to the glorification of God
  • To study and apply principles of design such as unity, balance, movement, and emphasis
  • To analyze a composition according to the principles of design
  • Vocabulary like: contrast, balance, unity, emphasis, repetition, movement, focal point, graphic artist, calligraphy, serif, sans serif, value, engraving, relief, grid, incising

Production assignments include:

  • Painting on the underside of the table in imitation of Michelangelo's painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling
  • Applying simple graphic art concepts in poster-making while referring to notable European posters
  • Modeling a clay face in low relief
  • Creating an eagle from a colored modeling compound and creating its habitat in 3 dimensions
  • Developing a composition from the story, The Big Race, and applying the principles of design to create a strong focal point
  • Creating the blueprint for an invention after studying Leonardo's success as an inventor

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