Level III-Lesson 11: The Canada Goose
Learn to use the rule of thirds to arrange objects in a composition
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 4 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
It’s easy to recognize a flock of Canada geese when they are flying—they honk and fly in a V-formation. But what happens to the tidy V-formation once they land? The birds scatter about randomly. So why not arrange a few of these easy-to-draw, majestic birds into an artistic pattern? That’s just what this lesson does.
Students will draw a small flock of three birds.
- They will arrange them using the Rule of Thirds.
- In the process, they will learn to use size and placement to create a sense of distance.
Then they will color the picture with mixed media:
- Black magic marker,
- Oil pastel, and
The result is picture that contrasts between sharply drawn lines and a very loose approach to using watercolor.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the goose. (The video version of the lesson allows for more experimentation with composition than in the PowerPoint version.
Learn Watercolor Techniques for Beginners by clicking here.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- One printout of the Canada goose warm-up
- 1 sheet of 11” x 15” watercolor paper
- 1 fine-tipped black magic marker
- 1 pencil
- Masking tape
- A painting board to tape the watercolor paper onto (a 2’ x 2’ piece of 1/4” masonite works well)
- A set of watercolors
- 1 set of oil pastels
- 1 brush: 1/2” flat watercolor brush (preferable), or #6 round watercolor brush
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
Facts about geese:
Use the habits of geese as an example of good character: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xINoemDoU0
Books for younger children:
- Toulouse: The Story of a Canada Goose by Priscilla Cummings: A warm-hearted story of a migrating goose and the snow goose who befriends him.
- Petunia by Roger Duvoisin: Pentunia finds a book, decides it makes her wise, and dispenses advice to her friends.
- The Canada Geese Quilt, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (Author), Leslie W. Bowman (Illustrator): A story of a young girl, her mother, her grandmother, and a wonderful surprise.
Books for older children:
- Wild Goose, Brother Goose, by Mel Ellis (Author): A story told from the point of view of a goose. It’s been compared to Old Yeller and Born Free. Bring a hankie when you read it!
- Find an extensive list of nonfiction books about Canadian geese at http://www.bookstore.lovecanadageese.com/canadageese.html. One book on the list, Skylar, by Sydney Landon Plum, is a moving, true account of how one woman interacts with an injured Canada goose.
- The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk, by Paul Gallico: A tale about a dark, reclusive hunchback with a gift for love and healing, a timid country girl, and the wounded snow goose that brings them together. Good reading if you like a little sentimentality.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Drawing the birds: 30 minutes
- Using mixed media to color the picture: 30 minutes