Level II-Art Lesson 1: The Swedish Dala Horse
Learn to draw a horse using a design from Swedish culture
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 3 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
Drawing a horse is difficult, but children love horses and love drawing them. The Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle, Washington, has a huge collection of the famous carved wooden horses, the Dala horses. Fortunately, these horses are stylized in such a way that they are EASY to draw, and they look very horse-like!
After the drawing warm-up, the lesson gives enough guidance to make sure that student drawings look satisfyingly like a horse. Then, after studying a number of Swedish folk art patterns, students will create their own original pattern as they finish the horse.
Preview the lesson HERE
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the horse.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 warm-up for the Swedish horse (this is included with the lesson)
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- 1 11” x 11” square piece of watercolor paper
- Paint palette
- tempera paints or acrylic paints
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
- Set of brushes
- Masking tape
- 1 bottle or cup for rinsing brushes
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- See what Sweeden, Norway, and Finland look like by watching a video.
- Watch a National Geographic video showing pictures of Sweden.
History: Learn the history and some of the meaning of the dala horse.
Writing: Find the Dalarna region on a map. Watch how carvers carve the dala horse, and then write an essay describing the process.
Literature: Read some Swedish folktales. You can find them in Swedish Folk Tales by Polly Lawsonet (#ad) or read The Princess and the Glass Mountain.
Music: Watch and listen to Swedish musician as they play traditional Swedish music on traditional instruments.
Science: Learn about a Swedish horse breed at these sites.
Cooking: Learn about the smorgasbord, a Swedish buffet, and try making some recipes.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Introduction through guided drawing: 20 minutes
- Finishing the drawing: 35 minutes
- Total time: 55 minutes