Level V-Art Lesson 8: The Whidbey Island Lighthouse With Clouds
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 7 through adult.
Art Lesson Description
At one time the Admiralty Head Lighthouse on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound guarded the sound and the passageway to the city of Seattle. Now, the beautifully restored lighthouse is only a tourist attraction, and its sharp lines and gorgeously simple architecture make it an ideal subject for drawing.
If the lighthouse fills the paper’s space, its imposing structure begins to seem rigid and artistically uninteresting. This lesson makes use of that problem by introducing cumulus clouds into the composition. By introducing clouds, we also introduce an interesting artistic problem: the problem of emphasis.
- If we make the lighthouse tiny and the clouds large, the cloud can seem menacing or overpowering.
- If we make the lighthouse large and the clouds tiny, the lighthouse seems powerful.
- If we make the lighthouse and clouds similar in size, an interesting tension develops.
Students will choose what kind of emphasis they want to give the objects, and will color the picture with oil pastels. As they do so, they will need to learn to introduce subtle coloring (beyond white and grey) to give the cloud volume and vitality. Clouds seem very easy to draw and color, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself giving clouds a very careful second look as you work!
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the lighthouse.
List of Supplies for Each Art Student:
- A copy of the warm-up (this is included with the lesson)
- A sheet of colored colored construction paper (grey, brown, blue, or drab green)
- Charcoal white pencil
- Oil pastels
- Blending stick
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
- Learn to identify clouds.
- Read The Book of Clouds by John Day, an informative, highly-readable book with lots of illustrations.
- Read The Cloud Book by Tomie de Paola, a fun and informative book about clouds for younger students.
- Learn how clouds can be used to predict the weather.
- Learn about the enormous Fresnel lenses that were used to focus the light from lighthouses.
- We often associate clouds with gloomy days. Play detective to discover some of the associations that the Bible makes with clouds: Exodus 13: 20-22, Exodus 16: 9-11, Exodus 24: 15-18, Exodus 34: 4-6, Numbers 10: 33-35, Matthew 24: 29-30, Luke 21: 26-28, Acts 1:8-10,Thessalonians 4: 16-17, Revelations 1: 6-8.
- Read Legendary Lighthouses by John Grant and Ray Jones.
- The Golden Age of American Lighthouses is a nostalgic look at U.S. lighthousess from 1850 to 1939 by Tim Harrison and Ray Jones.
- Read The Lightkeepers' Menagerie: Stories of Animals at Lighthouses.
- Read Guardians of the Lights: Stories of U.S. Lighthouse Keepers.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Lesson:
- Drawing the picture: 20 minutes
- Coloring with oil pastels: 2 or more hours
- Total time: 2+ hours