Magazine article School Arts

Sunrise, Sunset

Magazine article School Arts

Sunrise, Sunset

Article excerpt

Enduring Ideas

The sun is a major image in our lives and in the art of all ages and cultures. Children include suns in most of their pictures. Artists' paintings enrich our awareness of the sun as a source of light and energy that provides the life-force of our planet. Sun and sky also have to do with air quality, ozone, and global warming. Knowing more about sun, sky, and air, students may feel freer to express their feelings about the sky through art.

Art Exemplars

John Marin, Sunset at Casco Bay, 1903. Watercolor, graphite on paper.

Arthur Dove, Golden Sun, 1947. Oil on canvas.

James M.W. Turner, Sunrise, Norham Castle, 1845.

Lesson Overview

This lesson highlights John Marin as an artist, linking both art and the environment. Students see how sun lights the sky, throws color on clouds, illumines reflections, and makes shadows. Close observation of the sun in its many facets of color and light helps students to see it as integral to a picture.


Enlarged reproductions of Marin's and Dove's paintings, a 1" flat brush, a medium round #12 watercolor brush, watercolors, water container, water, pencil, 12 x 18" (30.5 x 46 cm) drawing or watercolor paper, paper towel, small scratch paper for testing colors, newspapers for desk or sponge for cleanup. For on-site work: viewfinders (slide holder 2" [5 cm] square or cut paper with 1" [2.5 cm] square window), drawing board, clothespins.

Guiding Inquiry

* Compare Marin's Sunset with Dove's Golden Sun. Both are modern in treatment, but how are they alike and how are they different?

* It was said that Marin felt the energy of forces. Explain how he expressed that in his sunset painting.

* The sun affects how we feel. Describe the feeling you have of Marin's sun picture. Describe the feeling you have from Dove's Golden Sun.

* Contrast Turner's Sunrise with that of Monet in terms of the color, clouds, media, light.

Guiding Expression

* Have students describe a very special experience they had of a sunrise or sunset. …

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