Color Landscape


  • Introduce elements of art to students.
  • Introduce composition of space within a landscape.
  • Use of basic collage and layering techniques.
  • Introduce idea of multi-media artwork. 

Opening Discussion

  • Museum: Introduce yourself and ask children if they have ever been to or heard of the Crocker Art Museum. What is a museum? What do you think would be in a museum? Discuss how the museum has many kinds of art or “mediums.” Artist often use different materials to create their art and often combine different materials. This way of making art, or “technique” of mixing materials, is what we will be doing today.
  • Today, we will be learning about the composition of space within a landscape. Tell students that the following activity and artworks will help them understand composition and landscape.
  • Show Thunderstorm in the Roman Campagna, Albert Venus. Begin by having the students describing what they see in the painting. Explain to the students that there are more natural objects in the painting than man-made objects, like the building far off in the distance. What term/s do we use to refer to a picture of natural scenery? Discuss new terms such as landscape and composition. Discuss the use of color. Name some colors you see being used in the artwork.
  • Show Untitled (Monterrey Pines), Mary DeNeale Morgan. Explain that artists often divide landscapes into three sections to break up the space of the picture and differentiate the things that are closer to you in the painting from things that are farther away. At this point, have students participate in the felt activity and have them create a landscape. Inform students that there’s three parts they have to assemble: the foreground, middle ground, and background. Explain to students that they will be using cool colors for the foreground, a mix of cool and warm colors for the middle ground, and warm colors for the background. Explain that they are using elements of art, such as shapes/forms, lines, and color. Have students come to a stopping point.
  • Show Walrus Willamette with Whale Walkers, by Maija Peeples Bright. Use Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). Ask them the following questions: What is going on in this painting? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find? Discuss Bright’s use of warm and cool colors. Point out that the artist uses perspective throughout her painting. Objects in the background appear smaller than the objects in the foreground. Point out her use of texture. Ask students how we might be able to create texture during the projects.
  • Show Great Canyon of the Sierra, Yosemite, Thomas Hill. Ask the students to look over the painting for a few moments. Begin by asking them the following questions: Are the mountains larger then the trees in the middle ground or vise-versa? What makes you say that? Make the connection that things in the foreground and middle ground are larger than the objects in the background. Have students practice with their felt collage. Once they have the concept down, have them collect all the felt pieces into the bag and return them to you.
  • Tell students that they will be creating their own landscape using mixed media materials and collage techniques. We are going to use warm and cool color papers to create our landscape. Remember, there are 3 parts to a landscape: foreground, middle ground, and background. Consider the following techniques we just practice (space, depth, perspective, and size). 
  • You will be using warm colors for the background, such as the sky (yellows, reds, oranges, etc.) and cool colors for the foreground, such as the ground (brown, green, blue, etc.). You may use a mix of both warm and cool colors for the middle ground. 


  • Have students discuss with one another the composition they wish to make for their landscape. Send students who are ready to gather their materials.
  • Setup a table where students can gather their material. Label a tray with warm colored materials: patterned/colored paper, tissue paper, transparency sheets. Label another tray with cool colored material: patterned/colored paper, tissue paper and colored tape. 
  • While they gather their material, pass out 9 X 12 in. background paper, scissors, and glue sticks. 
  • Demonstrate how they must use the glue sticks to collage the material onto one another. 
  • Once students are getting close to finishing up their landscapes, you may offer them a chance to add on other materials as embellishment. Have a small tray with buttons, rhinestones, small fuzzy tube strips, etc. (Optional)
  • Step further: Students can create a landscape that pops out! Have them cut up their landscape into three sections: foreground, middle ground and background. Using folded paper and double-sided tape (puff tape), have students attach the folded paper in between papers (example: middle ground to background and foreground to middle ground).
  • Encourage them to cover up the whole page and to use a number of materials throughout.

During the Work Period

  • Help one-on-one, giving explanations and demos as necessary.
  • Give the teacher the teacher resource packet and explain what is inside.
  • Count and log number of students and number of adults served.
  • If you notice the supply boxes are in need of anything, make a note of it to restock later.

Clean Up

  • Everything but their work of art needs to be cleared off the table. Scraps that can be reused should be put back in the bin or can be recycled. All other materials come back to the supply table. Have students check under the floor for any scraps or other materials that need to be put away. When the floor and tables are cleaned, have them sit in front of their landscapes so they can move onto the next activity. 


  • All, some, or none of these can be done, depending on the class and the remaining time. 
  • Tell students that they’re going to move around the room and look at each other’s work. The animal collage artwork will stay on their table and they will be the ones moving. There are two rules for this activity: no talking, no touching. It’s a time to look, not talk or touch. Ask them to stand and push their chairs in and stand behind their desk. Remind them once more of no talking and no touching. They can walk around the room and return to their seat when they feel like they’ve seen everything.
  • If they want to share: Have them look at their work and share the landscapes they have created. Ask what determine them to use the colors and materials to collage their landscape.  Did they use some or all of the techniques practiced/demonstrated? If so, how and where in their landscape demonstrates these techniques? Did they enjoy this type of artwork?
  • Extension:  If you were inside this landscape, what would you see? What would you smell? What would you hear? What might you taste? What could you touch?


  • Thank them for their hard work. Tell them to take their landscapes home and share them with their friends and family. 
  • Explain the family passes, if they’re getting them. Encourage them to visit the Crocker to see the artworks they saw today.
  • If you have extra time, read them a book. This can be done at any time, depending on the class needs.


  • 9 X 12 in. Background Paper
  • Warm and Cool Colored Card Stock Paper
  • Patterned Paper
  • Transparency Sheets
  • Tissue Paper
  • Colored Tape
  • Scissors
  • Glues Sticks
  • Warm/Cool Colored Felts
  • Zip-lock Bags (Felts)
  • Double-sided Tape (Puff Tape)


90 Minutes

Grade Level



  • English/Language Arts
  • History/Social Studies
  • Math
  • Visual Art


  • Female Artist
  • Landscape


  • Collage


Mallorie Marsh

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