Level V-Art Lesson 4: Grandma Moses and the Queen Anne House
Learn to imitate the American primitive style of art.
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 7 through adult.
Art Lesson Description:
If you drive through the part of almost any American community that was built around the turn of the 20th Century, you will be almost certain to find a charming Queen Anne style house. They are easy to spot: the wrap-around porch with columns and spindles, the cantilevered second story, and the use of a variety of textures on the outside walls are some of the identifying marks. Since they are often painted in three or more colors, you probably also know them as “painted ladies.”
This art lesson will help you identify and draw this style of home, but we thought it would be even more interesting to combine the architectural art of the period with the work of one of the most famous American artists of the period: Grandma Moses. This lesson combines Queen Anne architecture and Grandma Moses’ primitive art style to let the student create a picture of an ideal world where everything is peaceful, happy, and harmonious.
The drawing for this mixed media lesson is done with colored pencils; we finish it with watercolors.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the house.
Learn Watercolor Techniques for Beginners by clicking here.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- 1 fine tipped permanent black marker
- Drawing board: (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
- Masking tape
- Set of brushes
- Higher quality watercolor set
- Colored pencils
- 1 sheet of 11” x 14” watercolor paper
- A piece of paper towel or facial tissue
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
Social Studies Lesson Plans:
- Read The Industrial Revolution: A History in Documents (Pages from History) by
- Uprising by
Study what was happening in the world between 1880 and 1900. The Industrial Revolution created urbanization and the Queen Anne style house. It facilitated immigration, and many immigrants were hired as house staff. In Seattle at this time, Scandinavians were sought out as house help because they were considered hard workers and good cooks.
- 1881: Hitler was born. The Red Cross was started. The famous Tombstone shootout occurred in Tombstone, Arizona.
- 1882: Rockefeller took over Standard Oil. Polygamy was outlawed in the United States.
- 1883: US time zones were standardized.
- 1884: Baseball began.
- 1885: The telephone was invented, and the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument were built.
- 1886: In Chicago’s Haymarket Square, a riot broke out when someone threw a dynamite bomb in a crowd that was supporting workers who were on strike for an eight-hour day.
- 1888: The phonograph was invented.
- 1889: Washington became a state.
- 1890: The Battle of Wounded Knee was fought.
- 1891: The first international copyright act was written.
- 1894: The first movie was made.
- 1896: The Alaskan gold rush began.
- 1987: The escalator was invented.
- 1898: The Spanish American War was fought.
- The Clock by James Collier is a young adult book about how the industrial revolution simplified life but also devalued people. The book is a bit dark but would prompt a great discussion.
- This is also the time of Mark Twain. One could include the chapter from Tom Sawyer about whitewashing the fence.
- Read The Year with Grandma Moses, by W. Nikola-Lisa. It's written for children, but it will appeal to all ages. The book uses Grandma Moses' own words (excerpted from her memoirs) and reproductions of her evocative primitive paintings to tell the story of her life and work.
- Read Grandma Moses (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia. Good for young children who are just beginning to appreciate art.
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:
- Guided drawing: 35-45 minutes
- Coloring the house: 60-120 minutes
- Total time: 95-165 minutes