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Birds and bamboo: middle school.

Significant Problem

Students understand the importance of composition and balance. Simultaneously exploring the forms, colors, and textures of birds and replicating them.

Essential Concepts

1. Studying varieties of birds.

2. Learning to see the negative spaces and filling them with simple lines in forms of bamboo to harmonize and balance the painting.

3. Selecting parts of the birds for the painting rather than the full form in certain areas for better understanding of composition.


paper for sketching, 12 x 18" (31 x 46 cm) white drawing paper, pencil, colored inks or watercolors, brushes, black markers and felt pens

Guiding Practice

Collect pictures of birds from magazines. Select two of three birds and study their shapes, colors, and textures. Make sketches and try various compositions on newsprint. Compose the birds in parts of in full on final sheet of white paper. Make sure the negative spaces look balanced. Outline the birds in black with marker and add the strokes and patterns noticed in the birds. Encourage stylization. Use inks to fill in and shade the birds. Colors can be layered. Encourage students to study the white negative space and add lines of bamboo. Add watery gray ink washes to give depth.

Assessing Learning

Students can compare notes on how many birds they have been able to study. A discussion about hunting and the threat to natural flora and fauna with so many species being rendered endangered everyday can also be generated. To display the student works, allow students to divide the works into good use of shading technique, good use of space, good compositional balance. Allow them to discuss the reasons for their choices.

ClipCard submitted by Shital Mehta, an art teacher at The New Era School in Mumbai, India.
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Publication:School Arts
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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