Level II-Art Lesson 12: The Russian Fortress
Learn to Arrange an Array of Analogous Colors According to Their Color Value
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 3 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
In the center of Moscow, Russia, is a huge fort that dates back 900 years. What began as a wooden fort meant to keep out Eastern invaders was later rebuilt with white stone. After Napoleon destroyed much of the stone fort, Russians rebuilt it again, this time with red brick. The Russian word for a large fort is kremlin. Today we know the Kremlin as the center of Russian political power, since the president’s house—along with several churches, palaces, and museums—is located within the fort's walls.
Students will draw a simplified version of the Kremlin in layers, beginning with
- the Kremlin’s walls,
- then its palaces,
- its president’s residence,
- and finally it’s churches.
Each layer will be stacked on top of the preceding one.
The rest of the lesson is about making color choices. Students will
- Learn about analogous colors and color value,
- Create a palette of analogous watercolors, and
- Arrange their colors according to color value (darkness and lightness).
- The movie version of the lesson invites students to add architectural details with markers or gel pens.
To finish the lesson, they will use additional makers with analogous colors to add interest and give their picture depth.
This lesson is appropriate for people in 3rd grade through adult.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus a downloadable printout of the warmup.
Learn Watercolor Techniques for Beginners by clicking here.
List of Art Supplies for Each Student:
- A printout of the warmup for the kremlin (included in the lesson)
- 1 sheet of 11" x 15" watercolor paper
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- 1 HB drawing pencil
- 1 set of watercolor paint (find better quality watercolor here)
- Set of brushes
- 1 bottle of white glue
- 1 set of washable colored markers
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
FOR YOUNGER STUDENTS:
- If you were me and lived in... Russia: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman
- Eloise in Moscow by Kay Thompson. A story of the cold war.
- Max Moves to Moscow by Winifred Riser. A witty text and charming illustrations casually introduce facts about Russia while entertaining young readers with a story of Max, the dog.
- The Enormous Potato, a retelling of a classic Russian folktale.
- Peter and the Wolf, a retelling of Prokofiev's story.
FOR OLDER STUDENTS
- Napoleon tried to conquer Russia and Moscow. Read the information at these websites about why he failed and write Napoleon a letter telling him how to improve his strategy.
- Learn about the president’s house. Write an essay comparing it to the US White House.
History and Architecture: Learn more about the Kremlin and its history.
Churches in the Kremlin
- The Kremlin has 5 churches: Annunciation, Archangel Michael, Dormition, the Deposition of the Robe, and the Twelve Apostles. Find out what they are named for.
- Pictures of the Kremlin.
- Soviet history of the Kremlin.
- The Kremlin Museum and other tourist sites.
- Learn about the towers on the Kremlin wall. What are the purposes of each tower?
Government: The Kremlin has been home to several kinds of government: monarchy, socialist, and republic. How would each form of government change the use of the Kremlin? Learn about each type of government.
- Through Russian Snows by G.A. Henty. The story of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.
- Learn to make Olivieh (Салат Оливье), a famous Russian salad. It's a meal all by itself!
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Drawing the Kremlin: 25 minutes
- Using white glue to prepare for painting: 5 minutes for application + 1 day to let it dry
- Using watercolors and markers to color the picture: 25 minutes
- Total time: 55 minutes