Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) earned many honors for his paintings of American landscapes and abstract-realism portraits, often of people outdoors. His family home-schooled him from elementary school on due to illness. Wyeth drew inspiration from his father, a famous artist and illustrator of "Treasure Island" and "Robin Hood." Andrew Wyeth projects for kids include elements of painting, landscapes and portraits.
Explain that Wyeth often painted portraits of a single person, alone in an outdoor setting. After reading about Wyeth's early life, have kids imagine that they are a young Andrew Wyeth painting in the woods around his childhood home. Instruct them to imagine how he feels, often alone, unable to go to school due to illness, sitting outdoors painting. Have kids complete a portrait of Wyeth as they believe he would look sitting alone outdoors painting as a child or young teen.
Have students think about a favorite outdoor spot at home or at school. Ask students to decide on one or two objects that make the spot special to them. Instruct them to sketch a light drawing of the landscape. Students use size or color to emphasize the favorite objects that make the landscape special. Provide students with watercolor paints for painting the landscape.
Wyeth used the same model repeatedly in some paintings. He also showed tone and mood in his paintings so that people understood what people in the paintings felt. Have students choose one family member or friend to create in four different paintings. In each painting, instruct students to show the person in a different setting, feeling a different way. For example, at the beach the person might feel relaxed but painted in a dark forest, feel frightened.
Provide students with a white paper, stapled book to create an artist's picture book biography. After learning about Wyeth, have students create paragraphs about his early life, his family, his artist's training and his artwork. Students write each paragraph on a separate page in the book, leaving room for a sketch to accompany it. Have students create sketches to illustrate the text using colored pencils. Students should also create an appropriate book cover.
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