Lesson I-12: The Umbrella From Thailand
Using a paint brush to create textures
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 1 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
The storefront of the Borsang Umbrella Factory in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is a treasure that's filled with colorful lanterns, mulberry paper, fans, collapsible hats, and, of course, umbrellas. This lesson features one of the umbrellas painted at the factory.
We use the umbrella as a way to help students think about and experiment with texture. The lesson comes in three steps.
- We begin by collecting textures - textures that we can feel, as well as visual textures that are made of similar elements placed close together.
- Then we make a texture chart by translating the textures we have found into paint strokes. This is a perfect time for students to discover what kinds of strokes they can make with their brush.
- Last of all, students use the textures they have invented to create the design for an umbrella, in imitation of the umbrella from Thailand.
Each of the three parts involve discovery and experimentation (Each step will take students 30-45 minutes), and it’s best not to rush the process, so it’s probably best to plan to do the lesson at three separate times, especially with younger students.
The idea for a texture chart comes from Kathy Weisman Topal’s book, Children and Painting. We recommend the book as a resource for learning more about painting.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- Set of brushes
- A pencil
- 1 sheet of newsprint or 2 sheets of 11" x 14" drawing paper
- 1 sheet of 11" x 15" watercolor paper
- A paint palette
- A bottle of water for rinsing brushes
- 3-5 colors of tempera paints or acrylic paints, plus white
- Masking tape
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections
- Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho and Holly Meade
- Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho and Holly Meade
- Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris, Taeeun Yoo (Illustrator)
- Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon
- Interesting facts about elephants in Thailand
- Why elephants have been needed in Thailand
- Watch a Thai elephant paint a picture
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class
- Collecting textures: 30 minutes
- Painting the texture chart: 45 minutes
- Painting the final project: 45 minutes
- Total time: 120 minutes