Students will create a painting in the style of Chang Ku-nien, or in the Chinese tradition. They will use a page from Chang’s “Illustrated Manual of Chinese Painting,” and objects they can handle and arrange. Students will add details to create a landscape or a still life of simple composition with prominent central features. They will learn about perspective and scale as they prepare to make their artwork.
National Core Art Standards
One 40-50 minute class period
Materials and Resources
Show children a few images of Chinese hanging scrolls such as “Snow Scene,” “Watching Geese,” “Orchids and Red Rock.” Discuss the way Chang creates trees with a few simple strokes and the way the trees in “Watching Geese” and “Snow Scene” are recognizably different species because of the different style brush strokes. Compare the background in “Orchids and Red Rock” and “Watching Geese” and note how the brush strokes are similar but one is a rock and one is a mountainous landscape. Discuss how the rocks appear to be different sizes in relation to a small person or a large flower. Notice the tiny skiers in “Snow Scene” and let the children imagine what it would be like to be one of them or what they would like to do in a snowy landscape.
Now turn the children’s attention to the objects on their painting tables. Before each of them is a copy of rocks as painted by Chang Ku-nien and, for the group, a small collection of still life objects. Ask them to use the watercolor paints or markers to create a landscape or still life on/in/around the rocks on the xerox using the objects before them for inspiration. Encourage them to touch the objects and become familiar with their structure as well as their texture. Ask them to paint some of them in a few quick strokes as they have seen in Chang’s work. If they use the pine branches as models of trees the rock on their Xerox will become mountainous. If they select the flowers or bamboo, the rocks will be small garden rocks. At the end of the lesson let each child share his/her work and discuss.