Paul Cézanne was a post-impressionist painter from Aix-en-Provence, France. His landscape painting, Houses on the Hill, depicts the hills, trees, and rooftops near his beloved hometown. Although Cézanne paints a specific place, the seemingly unfinished composition allows the viewer to impose memories of places they have visited on the landforms. Landscape paintings offer an interesting way to learn about landforms and the relationships between geographic features and people. Artists often used different techniques to convey specific features of landscapes not able to be captured in a photograph, such as how the artist felt about a landscape or the impression it gave.
- Establish a comprehensive understanding of landforms.
- Identify landforms in landscape paintings.
- Illustrate the visual characteristics of landforms using watercolor
- Pictures of landforms (see Sources Worth Consulting)
- Lesson Handout: Looking Activity
- Cardstock or watercolor paper
- Masking or artist tape
- Watercolor pan set with brushes
- Optional items for watercolor techniques: Oil pastels, salt, rubbing alcohol, eye dropper, paper towels, etc.
Pens and pencils
- Go to the Watercolor Techniques website from Sources Worth Consulting and review different techniques that can be used in watercolor painting. Do any of the techniques resemble the characteristics of certain landforms?
- Give each student a piece of cardstock or watercolor paper. Draw three 4 inch squares and tape around the edges to ensure the watercolor stays within the boundaries. Sketch the remembered landscape from the Looking Activity. Use the three squares to experiment with different watercolor techniques or approaches. Outline the landforms, features, and foliage of the memory in pen, then use watercolors to paint the drawing. Students can apply any of the techniques from the Watercolor Techniques website.
- When finished, pick up the painting and gently tip it from side to side just once or twice to allow the colors to blend. Allow the watercolor landscapes to dry. Once the landscapes are dry, use ink to draw added details such as texture, contour lines, or patterns, and to sign the painting.
- Students brainstorm an Instagram style hashtag for their painting.
Paul Cézanne preferred to paint still lifes and landscapes in his later work. Ask students to consider:
- What if the modern Cézanne used social media and posted instagram photos of his artwork?
- Why would Cézanne post his art on social media?
- Given that Cézanne loves to paint still life and landscapes how is this similar to the feed one would view on Instagram today?