Landscapes, yawn. . . Recently, I was thinking about how tired I was of incorporating landscape painting into my curriculum. I know it is important and has it's place, but we don't really have an epic landscapes to see around here unless you drive at least an hour. So some students haven't ever seen an unobstructed horizon line.
I thought about all the great road trips I've been on and the American landscapes that I've seen. Many of these epic natural landscapes are out West and our National Parks. So instead of using calendar photos of landscapes for inspiration (yawn) I decided to show students THE best American landscape photographer of all time, Ansel Adams. I think it helped that I was totally jazzed by incorporating a photographer into our art history. By viewing photographs of American landscapes that many students didn't know existed and learning about the process of photographing these great spaces, we began to IMAGINE our idea of a perfect American landscape. We used charcoals, ideas from the photographs, along with some basic landscape drawing tips (such as foreground, middle ground, and background and horizon line) to create these beautiful works inspired by Ansel Adams.