Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Artists paint horses .

This is an art lesson from the La Mesa-Spring Valley art docent program .

grade level : 3rd graders

Material : * 9" x 11" white paper

* color pencils or crayons

* horses templates (from coloring books , etc.)

Introduction : Through history the horse has been a subject which has attracted the artist . Early men depicted the horse on the wall of their caves some 20,000 years ago . The Egyptians , Greeks and Romans all made sculptures of horses . The horse has been painted , sculpted and drawn - either alone , in groups or in activities related to human beings .

Resources : Here are some paintings from different historical periods in which the artist has represented one or more horses .

(1) " Be
fore the Start " by Charles Lapique (1898 - 1988 ) . The French artist Charles Lapique was a soldier and received The Croix de Guerre . He became interested in horses while he was in the army . Later he studied engineering , but then gave it up to become a painter . The French government hired him as a camouflage expert because he has made scientific studies of the harmonies and dynamics of colors .

Charles Lapique used brilliant and intense colors to paint these horses ! What clues tell us what kind of horses they are and where the scene is ? (#1 on the side of the horse , jockey caps , spectators , all tell us it is a race track .) We can feel the tense excitement as the horses get ready for the starting gun . Are the color realistic ? Do you get a feeling of movement ? Do some of the horses overlap others ? How many horses can you find ? Do horses and jockeys seem camouflaged ?

"Prince Balthazar-Carlos on Pony "by Diego Velasquez (1599 - 1660) . Diego Velasquez was a Spanish painter . When he was 24 years old he was invited to Madrid by the Spanish King Philip IV . He has painted a portrait of the king and the king was so pleased that he appointed Velasquez a Court Painter , gave him a regular salary , a studio in the palace and even a private house in the city . He became close friend to the king . ( The king had a chair in Velasquez studio as he liked to watch him work .) Diego Velasquez died at 61 .

In this portrait , Velasquez introduces us to King Philip IV's first son who was said to be a fine rider . How old do you think the prince is in this portrait ? ( ~ 5 years old ) Notice how Velasquez draws our attention to the young prince's face . The bright pink sash catches our eye and draws it to his face ; the face is also framed by the black hat , and our eyes are drawn to this area of contrast (light face , dark hat) . Velasquez repeats many of the colors in both the horse and the prince . Is the color of the horse repeated anywhere else in the painting ? (Ground) . Repetition of colors help tie the painting together . Does the horse look real ? ( The belly appears bloated .) This painting was meant to hang high over a doorway . When the painting is seen from below as originally intended , the horse seems less distorted and unusual .

(3) "Frightened horse " by Eugene Delacroix ( 1798 - 1863 ). Eugene Delacroix was born near Paris (he was the son of a diplomat ). In his school , he showed talent on the violin and all through his life he was attracted by music , but he also loved to draw . His new style called Romantic , was full of very strong feelings . His pictures show acts of heroism and heat trending tragedies . His figure appear to burn with inner fire .

Because Delacroix loved the movements of animals , he spent a lot of time at the zoo and traveling sketching lions , tigers , horses and other animals . What is the focus of the painting ? (The horse .) Where is the horse standing ? (On the stretch of beach .) can you tell what is behind the horse ? ( The ocean .) What is happening in the sky ? ( A storm rages , lightning streaks in part of the sky .) The title of this painting is "Frightened horse" . Why is the horse frightened ? Do the action of the horse , in response to the storm seem real ? The white horse is contrasted with the dark stormy sky and sea . Such strong contrast of color (white against dark , deep blue , almost black ) adds to the drama of the event . It is a dramatic painting . (Main color is blue except for a little pink , white and light brown .)

(4) " The Race Track " by Raoul Dufy (1877 -1953 ). Raoul Dufy was born in Le Havre , France . at 15 years old he began to study art at night while working during the day . Beside being a painter , he also was an illustrator , a stage designer and a fabric designer .

One of Dufy's passion was fast motion and he was a frequent spectator at boating and horse races. The title of his painting is "Race Track" . What do you see in the foreground ? ( Horses and jockeys , elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen .) What makes up in the middle ground in this painting ? ( The race track. ) What is in the background ? ( A row of trees , a city on a hill .) what is the color Dufy used the most ? ( The green of the race track .) He uses his color freely like a wash and does not confine it within strict boundary lines . Look at the city , for example , the green of the hillside extended to the area of the sky . Red is the complimentary color of green . ( A complementary color is the opposite color on the color wheel .) an artist uses complementary colors for exciting effects . Where does the artist use the red color ?

(5) " Neigh of an Iron Horse " by A. Tapy (ca 1859) . Do you know what an iron horse is ? when train became popular as a mode of transportation during the 19th century instead of horses , people called them " iron horses " because they were made of iron and they were taking the place of horses . Here we see the dominant figure in a landscape - a large , very frightened horse - with his mane flying , fleeing from the sound of a train coming around abound and shrieking its way across the quiet countryside . A late autumn haze covers the scene . The sky and land seem to fuse or melt together at the horizon . The normal quiet has been harshly broken .
Do you know what a neigh is ? Perhaps the horse has never seen or heard a train before ! The color is mostly golden and green with few touches of white and pink in the flowers in the foreground . The horse is large and the train appears small . This picture was painted ~ 1859 and we don't have a lot of information about the artist . The artist had a fine sense of colors and a love and understanding of nature .

(6) "Central Park " by Maurice Prendergast ( 1859 - 1924 ) . Maurice Prendergast was born in Newfoundland , but his family moved to Massachusetts when he and his brother were still boys . His favorite medium was watercolor , but when he became too old to work outdoors , he turned to painting oils. He was not recognized by the public until he won a major award one year before his death .

This painting of Central Park was done in watercolor . Where is Central Park ? (New York.) what is going on in this painting ? (People seated on benches are watching the horse-drawn carriages pass by . Cars had not yet been invented .) There are horizontal elements . Find them . ( The benches , the narrow strip of ground at the bottom , the horses and the carriages.) Find the vertical elements . ( The trees , the individual figures , etc.)Find shapes . (Circles of the carriage wheels , small rectangles which form the benches , etc.) Maurice Prendergast has based his painting on repetition of similar elements . what has he repeated ? (People sitting , the horses and carriages , the trees .) this repetition creates a pattern . Has Maurice Prendergast used mainly warm (reds , yellows and oranges ) or cool (greens and blues ) colors in his painting ?

(7) " The Apache " by Frederic Remington ( 1861 -1909 ) . Frederic Remongton was an American painter , illustrator and sculptor . He was born in Canton , New York in 1861 , as the civil war was starting . As a boy he loved horses and outdoors . He studied art at Yale University and New York City . He died of appendicitis in 1909 .

"The Apache" shows an Indian hiding behind a rock waiting to shoot at a covered wagon . The subject is drawn with such realism that it is possible to tell which tribe he belongs to and what kind of plants to and what kind of plants grow in the area . Frederic Remington often painted scenes of danger . can you see the details Remington loved to paint ? Look at the Indian and the horse and see how accurately they are shown . Many of these paintings of the plains show the history of the Indians once the white man started west .

Vocabulary :
contrast , boundary lines , complementary colors , dominant , horizontal , vertical , repetition , warm colors , cool colors .

Activity : Ask the children to draw a picture including one or more horses . They should also include a background and other details letting us know where their(s) horse(s) . You can let children use horse template if they have a hard time to draw a horse .

example :