Lesson Plan: Translating a Familiar Landscape
“Tradition Transformed: Chang Ku-nien Master Painter of the 20th Century” UMMA Teacher Workshop - March 3, 2010
Students will identify a place that is familiar or special to them and represent it in the style of Chinese painting. They will learn about Chinese brush painting traditions and use them to create their own brush painting.
National Core Art Standards
- Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work
- Develop and refine artistic work for presentation
- Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding
One 50-60 minute lesson
- Brushes – Chinese bamboo brushes if possible
- Water for rinsing brushes and diluting ink
- Ink – Chinese ink if possible, black water color if not
- Paper for their painting and to cover the table
- Images of Chinese landscape paintings
- Postcards or pictures of scenes in Michigan, especially places with massing of rocks, water, trees
- Show students a selection of Chinese paintings such as those by Chang Ku-nien. Discuss the use of color and look at the variety of brush strokes used, especially for rocks and trees. Look at the details and have the children describe the brush strokes. Look carefully at the way large landforms are created with big choppy brush strokes and trees and vegetation are created by short calligraphic strokes.
- Tell them that a Chinese artist named Chang Ku-nien learned to paint in the traditional Chinese style and continued to use that style when he moved to Michigan. Here, he painted pictures of his garden in Flint and scenes in the Upper Peninsula.
- Have students use postcards of Michigan landmarks as inspiration but paint them in the Chinese style, beginning with the large areas of rocks or water, and gradually adding on trees and plants in smaller calligraphic strokes. Display and discuss.