AUTUMN BIRCH TREES: Elizabeth St Hilaire inspired – Year 5/6 art lesson

Painted paper collages of ‘Fall’ birch trees by Elizabeth St Hilaire were the inspiration for these mixed media artworks by Year 5 students. The process we used was different than that of St Hilaire, though I got the students to suggest what materials and techniques they think were used by her.

Elizabeth St Hilaire was born and raised in New England, USA and has lived in Florida for more than 20 years. She makes collages from painted, found and hand made papers, which she tears and collages to make her amazing textured and patterned artworks of landscapes, trees, animals, flowers, birds and portraits. St Hilaire does an underpainting first then uses swatches of painted and found paper in matching colours to glue over the top, giving her work a painterly finish, with the texture of a collage. We used a different process, painting the collaged newspaper after it was stuck down. For this project we looked at her Autumn (Fall) Birch trees for inspiration.

Learning Intention & Success Criteria:

To make a mixed media artwork of Autumn birch trees in the style of Elizabet St Hilaire.

I will learn about artist Elizabeth St Hilaire and view her artworks of Autumn (Birch) trees and how she shows texture and perspective in her artworks.

I am learning about PERSPECTIVE and TEXTURE so I can use collage and painting techniques to resemble  Birch tree trunks.

I can tear and glue down overlapped newspaper to cover a piece of A3 paper.

I will use masking tape to make some trunks thin, some thicker to give the illusion of depth and perspective. I can use scraped and dabbed black paint to give texture. I can choose and blend colours and emphasize texture in the Autumn background.

I can analyse artworks by Elizabeth St Hilaire by noting materials, process and elements of art.

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First of all students look at the Birch tree artworks by Elizabeth St Hilaire to infer the materials and techniques. For example: Materials: paint, paper: newspaper, sheet music, painted paper, glue, etc. Techniques: tearing, overlapping, gluing, painting, collage, outlining, etc.

This is a video of an interview with St. Hilaire explaining her process and collage techniques: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9obDq-QLtA  and this one: “A peek into my Process”: demonstrates how she goes about an artwork.


Elizabeth St Hilaire: “A peek into My Process” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R69zzS9Ok3E

Our Process: (different from St Hilaire)

Collage the entire page with torn newspaper. Brush over with ‘Modge Podge.’

Use masking tape of varying widths to make the tree trunks from top to bottom of the page with some thin branches off the side.

Use Autumn colours to paint the background- could be in layers or mixed all over.

Use a thin brush to paint black paint along the edges of the tree trunks. Using the edge/side of a card, scrape paint inwards along the edges of the trunks to give tone and texture of a birch tree trunk.

Students evaluate their work with a rubric:

Autumn Tree Collage- Eloise Renouf style- Year 1-2

Eloise Renouf is an artist, designer and illustrator from the UK whose designs adorn fabric and printed textiles for homewares and greeting cards. She designs all sorts of nature-inspired patterns: from flowers, trees, clouds, birds and leaves. Her overlapping trees use circles, ovals and roundish shapes or ’round cornered’ squares!

LEARNING INTENTION:

To use colour, shape, texture and space to create a mixed media artwork with Autumn trees. We are learning about space- background and foreground and overlapping to create depth. We are learning about cool, warm colours and contrasting. We are learning about VARIETY – shape, colour, pattern. We are learning about texture- implied, by using painting techniques.

SUCCESS CRITERIA: I can make TEXTURE on paper by using ‘texture wands’ to create painted paper in various combined warm colours. I can (trace) and cut out various organic rounded SHAPES, like ovals and rounded squares for the tree tops. I can use LINE and PATTERN to add stylised branches on each tree top shape. I can fill the SPACE of the whole paper with one-third sky, one-third land (either by dabbing paint (with white to make tints of the colour) or by gluing down OVERLAPPED pieces of tissue paper. I can arrange the treetop shapes in two rows, with varied colours, OVERLAPPING the bottom row with the top.

First the students made painted paper, using warm coloured paint to print and dab with brushes and texture wands onto warm coloured cover paper. While this was left to dry, they made their background- one class used paint to dab on the grass at the bottom of a piece of blue cover paper; the other class overlapped pieces of green tissue paper along the bottom third of the paper.

The next lesson, students used pre-cut templates mostly in the shape of ovals and round cornered squares to trace the shapes on the back of the painted paper, and cutting out, making sure to share and use other students scraps to get a variety of colours and patterns.

They then used permanent markers to draw a line up the middle of the shape for the tree trunk, then add various lines for branches, using Renouf designs for ideas.

Students then had to arrange their trees with the colours spread into a “back row” on the top half of the page, gluing down, then adding the trunk in the black marker to touch the top of the “ground”. The next row of trees were glued lower, slightly overlapping the back row, and with the various colours spread out.

The trunks drawn from those trees needed to be drawn down a little lower because they are closer!

This took 2 one hour lessons. We had discussions about shape, colour, line, overlapping etc.

My art lesson with Year 1 and 2 students was adapted from “First Grade landscapes” from a Cassie Stephens post.