Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Postcards From the Wilderness

Subject Area

Arts Education


3, 4, 5


Students will analyze paintings of landscapes, focusing on texture. They will sketch an imagined landscape. They will create textures using rubbings and write a letter to a friend or family member describing their landscape. The drawing will be glued to the front of a postcard with the letter on the back.   

    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 3 - Visual Arts


    Elaborate on an individual or prompted imaginative idea.

    Unpacked Content



    • Creativity
    • Criteria
    • Critique
    • Design
    • Media
    • Mixed media
    • Monochromatic
    • Principles of design
      • Rhythm
    • Technology
    • Visual image

    Essential Questions

    EU: Creativity and innovative thinking are essential life skills that can be developed.
    EQ: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? What factors prevent or encourage people to take creative risks? How does collaboration expand the creative process?

    Skills Examples

    • Use a variety of materials to create a three-dimensional mask showing a student's personality.
    • Use torn paper scraps to create rhythm in a landscape.
    • Plan a community/city; then, build a model of it with recyclable materials, such as cardboard, boxes, containers, and tubes.
    • Collaborate with a group to demonstrate how to care for tools used in class (such as paintbrushes).
    • After looking at Vincent van Gogh's painting, Bedroom, create a narrative painting depicting a memory of a student's personal bedroom.
    • Use appropriate visual art vocabulary during the art-making process of two-and-three-dimensional artworks.
    • Collaborate with others to create a work of art that addresses an interdisciplinary theme.
    • Read and explore books like Imagine That by Joyce Raimondo or Dinner at Magritte's by Michael Garland and then create a Surrealistic style artwork.
    • Recognize and identify choices that give meaning to a personal work of art.
    • Create a drawing using monochromatic colors (paint, oil pastels, etc.).
    • Explore individual creativity using a variety of media.
    • Understand what effects different media can have in a work of art.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 4 - Visual Arts


    Document, describe, and create real or imagined constructed environments.

    Unpacked Content



    • Constructed environment
    • Cultural traditions
    • Digital format
    • Engagement
    • Tertiary color
    • Preservation
    • Proportion
    • Principles of design
      • Unity
    • Shade
    • Style
    • Tints & shades

    Essential Questions

    EU: People create and interact with objects, places, and design that define, shape, enhance, and empower their lives.
    EQ: How do objects, places, and design shape lives and communities? How do artists and designers determine goals for designing or redesigning objects, places, or systems? How do artists and designers create works of art or design that effectively communicate?

    Skills Examples

    • Create a list of multiple ideas, sketches, or thumbnail-sketches before beginning the final version of an artwork.
    • Identify, select, and vary art materials, tools and processes to achieve desired results in their artwork.
    • Brainstorm (alone or with others) potential art styles for a given piece of art, such as Monet's Water Lilies.
    • Create an artwork from direct observation (still-life, self-portrait, figure drawing, etc.).
    • Design a two-dimensional drawings of a futuristic art room, town, or planet
    • Use wood, found objects, wire, paper, or clay-based materials to construct a three-dimensional form.
    • Locate business logos in the community and explore the visual arts skills and materials that were used to create these works.
    • Engage in group critiques of one's work and the work of others.
    • Experiment with art materials by using them in unusual and creative ways to express ideas and convey meaning.
    • Use and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.
    • Mix equal parts of a primary and a secondary color located beside each other on the color wheel to create a tertiary color.
    • Use the design principles of repetition and alignment to add visual unity to an artwork.
    • Create a painting using a monochromatic color scheme by using one color (red) adding white to create a tint (a lighter value--pink) and adding black to the color (red) to create a shade (darker value).

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 5 - Visual Arts


    Communicate personal ideas, images, and themes through artistic choices of media, technique, and subject matter.

    Unpacked Content



    • Cultural context
    • Formal & conceptual vocabulary
    • Genre
    • Linear perspective
    • Preserve
    • Principles of design
      • Movement
      • Emphasis
    • Relief
    • Vanishing point

    Essential Questions

    EU: Artists and designers experiment with forms, structures, materials, concepts, media, and artmaking approaches.
    EQ: How do artists work? How do artists and designers determine whether a particular direction in their work is effective? How do artists and designers learn from trial and error?

    Skills Examples

    • Use a variety of materials (wood, found objects, wire, paper, clay, etc.) to construct a three-dimensional work of art.
    • Have students keep journals to reflect on and combine ideas for their works of art.
    • Draw a still life of students' favorite objects, while adding color with a variety of media (paint, pastels, collage, etc.).
    • Draw an object or other images (landscapes, hallways, etc.) in linear one-point perspective.
    • Create tessellations in connection with interdisciplinary subjects such as mathematics.
    • Write a short story and illustrate the story with original drawings.
    • Draw and transform two-dimensional shapes into three-dimensional forms.
    • (squares to cubes, circles to spheres, triangles to pyramids and cones)
    • Write a personal artist statement to accompany an original work of art.
    • Draw a landscape including foreground, middle ground, and background.
    • Create an artwork integrating observational and technical skills to solve a problem or address contemporary social issues.
    • Create a bas-relief by carving into a clay slab.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
    Link to Resource

    CR Resource Type

    Lesson/Unit Plan

    Resource Provider

    The J. Paul Getty Museum

    License Type