Rock Painting with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes: .................................................... ....................................................
Color: Appreciate that warm colors can be active and cool colors can be relaxing
  Appreciate that the color wheel includes intermediate colors
  Understand that complementary and analogous colors are found on the color wheel
Appreciate that the intensity of colors can be changed
Line: Appreciate that line is used to represent the world around us
Space: Appreciate positive and negative shapes around us
Texture: Appreciate that texture is used to enhance realism
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance aesthetics
Form: Appreciate that art encompasses a variety of 3-D forms using various media
Design: Appreciate the concept of complexity/simplicity in design
Materials: 25 flat rocks
  25 number 10 brushes
  25 pencils, both regular and soft leaded
  25 erasers
  Acrylic paint in primary colors, black and white
twigs and sticks for fine detail
  One very useful color wheel with different types of colors clearly labeled.
Vocabulary: Warm and Cool Colors, Complementary, Intermediate and Analogous Colors, Line, Positive and Negative Space, Texture, Complexity and Simplicity
In this activity, the students share an experience with some of the world's first artists as they paint on rocks and caves. It can be integrated with both Aboriginal paintings or prehistoric cave paintings. To begin with, share some examples of these ancient paintings with the students to give them an idea of what kind of patterns they might want to create. (It's an easy Google Image search.)

I personally collect flat rocks for this project when I'm out jogging. Hopefully, you have some place to go, too. Students select the rock they want to paint and trace it on to a piece of paper. The design for the rock must take into effect the positive and negative space of the design. Consider what kind of textures might be added to the painting. Just like in the color wheel project, students must consider the complexity or simplicity of the painting.

Students make a full color sketch of their design on the paper tracing. They may choose to use the natural color of the rock for a background or use any color scheme including primary, secondary, cool, warm, analogous, complementary, intermediate, and monochromatic colors. (Three colors plus black and white should be enough for this project.)

Upon completion of the design, use the "Homemade Carbon Paper" method to transfer the design to the rock. Never heard of it? Well, it is a great little trick. Using soft leaded pencils, color the back of the sketch. Next, place the sketch on top of the rock. Tape it in place on the left and right with little pieces of masking tape. It's not difficult to transfer the design to the surface. When you trace on top of the sketch, the pencil lead on the back of the page will transfer the art to the surface of the rock. You don't need to push hard.

Okay, I let the students use brushes to paint the background and most of the objects on the rocks. However, I want them to have a bit of a prehistoric experience. There are no fine brushes. So, just like the early artists, they need to use sticks or whatever else they can find for fine details.

When everything is dry, spray the finished work with an acrylic spray.


Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.

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