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Visual Art

Group of Seven - Mixed Media Landscape

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Crayola Teachers has a lot of valuable Art lessons available on their website. Not only does this resource provide creative Art ideas, but it also connects the Art to the Ontario Arts curriculum and the elements and Art and principles of design. I came across this Group of Seven inspired, mixed media landscape painting that I was eager to recreate. My parents took me to the McMichael Art Gallery when I was a child and I always loved looking at the landscapes by the Group of Seven. There are always beautiful colours in the work of the Group of Seven and I thought it would be incredible to see the colourful landscapes that students create.

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If I were to incorporate an Art assignment like this into my future classrooms, I would ideally love to take the class on a field trip (or even a virtual field trip) to the McMichael Art Gallery. This would also be a great cross-curricular activity as it ties in with strand A of the grade six Social Studies curriculum (Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present. Students will assess contributions to Canadian identities by various groups and communities). A key concept that I have taken away from many of my classes in teacher’s college is that we need to provide students with real-life, hands-on experiences. Seeing the work of the Group of Seven in person would immerse students in the Art work and in Canadian heritage.

I recreated this Group of Seven inspired landscape using liquid glue, water colour paints and pencil crayons. It is a simple but effective Art activity that will help display students’ understanding of line, colour, balance, contrast and emphasis. I have included below a rubric connected to the grade six Visual Arts curriculum that can be used to assess this activity. Before creating a rubric myself, I did not realize how much thought and careful word choice was needed. I have learned that rubrics need to outline the curriculum expectations while also being easy to follow and understandable for students and their parents. Rubric writing is a skill that I will continue to work on throughout my career as an educator.

Overall, I had a lot of fun creating this landscape painting! I also enjoy this activity because it gives students a lot of freedom to be creative and add their own personality to their work. I cannot wait to introduce this Art activity in my future classrooms, it will be wonderful to see how students use a variety of lines and warm and cool colours to create a beautiful piece of Artwork that connects to Canadian culture and identity.

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Arthur Shilling Portrait Drawing

"Creativity takes courage.”

- Henri Matisse

This quote from French artist Henri Matisse resonates with me and my experience taking Art class in my first year of teacher’s college. Although I have always had a love and appreciation for Visual Art, I found it difficult to take risks and express my personal sense of creativity through my Art. The course allowed me to be courageous, take risks and add my own personal style to each piece of Art that I create.


 I especially learned a lot from our session on the work of Arthur Shilling, an Ojibwa painter from Rama. Our class was fortunate to have a guest artist from OMAH come in and walk us through the process of creating a self-portrait in the unique expressionist style of Shilling. Throughout the workshop, we were encouraged to add our own personality to the work and to not be afraid of small imperfections. Creating a self-portrait that did not need to be perfect allowed me to fully express myself - especially through the use of bright and beautiful colours! 


My main take away from this workshop on Arthur shilling is that when I am teaching Art to my students I will always encourage them to create and take risks with their Art. The lesson I learned from my self-portrait is that when we fully immerse ourselves, our personalities and individual styles into our Artwork we see amazing results. Children are incredibly creative and I cannot wait to give my students the opportunity to foster their creativity through the medium of Art.

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Self Potrait in the style of Arthur Shilling

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