Northern Lights Art Project

Northern Lights KW
Photo credit – David Bebee, Kitchener Record

Ten years ago this week, I had to get some gas on the way to work. As I went in the store to pay, I noticed this brilliant photo on the front page of the newspaper. I was immediately inspired by this gorgeous image.

First, we don’t normally get to see the Northern Lights in my part of South Western Ontario, Canada. Secondly, I was scheduled to teach visual arts that day and thought this would be a great a timely piece to recreate.

Since then, I have done this lesson several times with many different classes in different cities. And it has always been a hit.

I even purchased an 8×10 photo of the image and have it framed in my living room. Did you know that newspapers provide that service?

no white space

Here is how we recreate the photo in my visual arts classes.

1) We use pencil crayons to create ribbons of colour across the entire page.

colour the whole page

2) Make sure that there is absolutely no white space. Once the entire background is drawn to show the colourful night-time sky, you are ready to colour the foreground.

student examples

3) Use a black crayon to draw a hill, tree, and any other thing you might want to add.

I never want to simply recreate an image in art class. I want my students to use their own imagination and create however they see fit (that is the point of art after all)

The key here is to press down on the black crayon to so that the foreground is solid and dark. The bottom right image above did the best job.

Teaching Tip Tuesday – great tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiration every week!

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