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Landscape Art & Henri Rousseau Lesson for Early Elementary

Updated on June 20, 2019
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Landscape & Henri Rousseau Lesson for Early Elementary
Landscape & Henri Rousseau Lesson for Early Elementary

This is the 6th lesson in a series of 26 hands-on art lessons for Kindergarten and 1st grade. This lesson focuses on landscapes and uses a water resist technique. I used this plan while teaching a weekly 45 minute art class for children in Kindergarten & 1st grade. Each lesson includes an art concept, introductory book, focus on an artist, and a variety of art techniques to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

Henri Rousseau

1. Ask they children if they ever draw anything from their imagination. Today's artist loved to do just that! Read most of The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel.

You will need:

  • The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel or other book on Henri Rousseau

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
I love when illustrators use the style of painting for the artist they are describing! This also does a nice job of giving a quick, interesting description of Rousseau and the development of his art. My students and children really enjoyed this -- particularly because of the beautiful illustrations.
Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) (1891) by Henri Rousseau
Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) (1891) by Henri Rousseau | Source

Portraits & Landscapes

2. [Show the self-portrait of Henri Rousseau.] Who remembers what a portrait is? (a painting or picture of a person). On the first day of class we painted self-portraits. What is a self-portrait? (a painting or a picture that a person does of himself or herself) Another type of painting is a landscape. Does anyone know what a landscape is? (a painting or picture focusing mainly on natural scenes such as mountains or forests)

You will need:

  • self-portrait of Henri Rousseau

3. Henri Rousseau liked to paint landscapes, but they weren't landscapes of mountains. [Show Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!).]

  • What is the setting of this painting? (a jungle) Who has been to a jungle? Neither have I. Neither had the artist Henri Rousseau! He liked to visit botanic gardens and imagine what the jungle would look like.
  • Who has seen a tiger? Yes, we like seeing the tigers at the zoo too. Is this what a tiger looks like? Guess what! Henri Rousseau had to imagine what a tiger looked like too!
  • What else do you see in the painting? (lots of green plants, a storm, bright red flowers, etc.)

You will need:

  • a copy of Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!) by Henri Rousseau

Using Draw Write Now Book 7's step-by-step instructions to draw a tiger
Using Draw Write Now Book 7's step-by-step instructions to draw a tiger

Drawing a Tiger & a Jungle

4. Lead the children in using a pencil to draw a tiger. I used the directions from Draw Write Now: Book Seven.

You will need:

  • pencils
  • watercolor paper or other sturdy paper
  • (optional) Draw Write Now: Book Seven

5. After most children have finished sketching their tiger, have them color their tiger.

  • Start by coloring the white. I know it won't show up on the paper, but it will show up when we paint over it. Be sure to color every single part of the tiger and try to color hard. Make it really bold and colorful. Outline the tiger in black. Be sure to cover all your pencil marks.
  • Add white zigzag lightening at the top.
  • Next add green plants. Use your various shades of green. Have different shapes of leaves and vines. Make sure to draw some under your tiger so it doesn't look like your tiger is flying in the air.
  • Add some flowers. Draw some big white ones. Trust me; they will show up later. Draw some red flowers and yellow flowers.
  • Draw some plants going off the page. Have them overlap each other.

You will need:

  • crayons

Painting black watercolor paint over the crayon drawing (water resist technique)
Painting black watercolor paint over the crayon drawing (water resist technique)

Water Resist: Black Watercolor Paint

6. After you've colored your tiger and your jungle landscape, it's time to add the storm. Using only your black watercolor paint, paint over your entire picture.

You will need:

  • black watercolor paint
  • larger paintbrush
  • container for water

7. As children finish, take photos of them with their masterpieces.

8. You can provide extra paper for children who finish early and would like to create another landscape scene in crayon and watercolor paints.

Some of the final pieces
Some of the final pieces

Art With Mati & Dada | Rousseau

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© 2018 Shannon


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