LEVEL IV - ART LESSON 12: THE FRENCH ORCHIDS
Learning to create emphasis
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 6 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
A friend who is a native of France - and an orchid fancier - introduced us to the orchids that nestle in the grasses of the pastures in southwestern France. These pastures, which are home to nearly 70 different species of terrestrial orchids, are an orchid lover’s paradise! There are orchids that stink, orchids shaped like human bodies, orchids that look like insects, and we could go on and on.
This lesson uses one of those orchids, the Orchis moria, as its subject, and we use it to introduce students to the magic that results from applying several techniques for painting with wet chalk. At the same time, students learn to use several principles for giving emphasis to one object in a picture. The result is an effect that just might remind you of the work of the famous French watercolorist, Paul Cézanne!
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the orchid.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 fine-tipped black magic marker
- A printout of the warmup
- 1 sheet of watercolor paper (11” x 15”)
- 1 drawing board
- Masking tape
- A set of chalk pastels
- A bottle of water
- A good-sized watercolor brush
- (Optional) Dark ink, dark watercolor, or a dark colored magic marker
- An HB or 3B pencil with a dull point
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Learn interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower.
- Find interesting facts about France.
- Learn about the palace of Versailles at these two sites.
- Learn about French Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language & more.
- Learn how Paul Cezanne used watercolor paint and compare his approach to the way you drew the French orchids.
- Read Paul Cezanne (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists), a book written for middle school children.
- Cézanne: Landscape into Art compares Cézanne’s paintings with photos of the landscapes he portrayed.
- Learn about orchids at Kiddle encyclopedia.
- Learn about the colors of orchids.
- Learn seven little known facts about orchids.
- Learn about the orchid that produces vanilla flavor.
- Discover seven orchids that look like animals.
Language and literature
- The Everything Kids' Learning French Book provides fun exercises to help you learn francais.
- Read Jean de La Fontaine's fables at this site.
- Read the fables of Jean De La Fontaine in English and French.
- Enjoy cooking with your kids when you use Kids Cook French.
Approximate Time Needed to Complete the Art Class:
- Drawing the orchid: 20 minutes
- Coloring the orchid: 40 minutes