Level IV-Lesson 3: The Albatross and the Galleon Ship
Learn to draw an ocean scene based on a batik from Ukraine
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 6 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
We all know that ships can configure their sails to sail against the wind. It may come as a surprise, however, that the albatross, the bird with the longest wingspan in the world, flies across the ocean using the same principles. The bird is so successful at using the power of wind and waves that it can fly around the world. It seldom returns to land except to rear its young.
Our original picture is a batik done by a theatre student at the Artistic Theatrical College of Odessa, Ukraine. It shows both a ship and an albatross. The waves, the ship, and the albatross are linked into one energetic scene!
Controlling watercolor paint can be difficult.
- This lesson makes the medium more manageable by combining watercolor with oil pastels.
- The oil pastels provide an oily resist that helps control the watercolor while also providing an interesting contrast in texture.
- The lesson ends with an interesting technique—using salt sprinkled on wet paint to create the foaming of the waves.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the ship and albatross.
Learn Watercolor Techniques for Beginners by clicking here.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 warm-up for the albatross and the ship (this is included with the lesson)
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- 11" x 15" watercolor paper
- 1 set of Oil pastels (PowerPoint version) or a white oil pastel (Video version)
- Watercolor paint (higher quality watercolor here)
- 1 scrap of watercolor paper about 4” x 4”
- Table salt in a salt shaker
- Masking tape
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Read Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
- Read Tennyson's The Revenge, a story about the English defeat of the Spanish Armada.
- The horse story, Misty, was inspired by a wrecked Spanish galleon, the La Galga.
- Learn how to sail a full-rigged ship in three steps at these three sites.
- The albatross:
- Learn how watercolors were developed.
- Ocean waves:
- Learn why the ocean is salty and why people cannot drink sea water.
History of the galleon ship
- Find out why the galleon ship was such an improvement over previous ship designs.
- Learn the parts of the galleon ship.
- Spain used galleon ships to explore the New World.
- Sir Francis Drake sailed a galleon ship in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
- Sir Walter Raleigh sailed a galleon ship to defeat the Spanish fleet a second time.
- Spanish galleons made trade links between Asia and North America.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Introduction through guided drawing: 40 minutes
- Using color media: 50 minutes
- Total time: 90 minutes