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High School

...Worth a Thousand Words
Foundations of Art
    Interdisciplinary Extensions

…Worth a Thousand Words
Jasper Cropsey exhibited his painting Indian Summer Morning with a verse from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, Evangeline. Evangeline was written during a period of Romanticism, an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in the late 18th century and stressed strong emotion, imagination, freedom from classical correctness in art forms, and rebellion against social conventions. Many works of literature, painting, music, architecture, and criticism were characterized by this style.

Ask students to write their own poems about one or both of the Cropsey paintings, reflecting what they see in the work, as well as how it makes them feel when they look at it.

New Hampshire History Topic: Self-Expression
Language Arts
: Standard 2, Using artworks as catalysts for writing (creative writing)

Foundations of Art

Aim/Instructional Objectives

  • Students will learn to examine their personal notions of the landscape, both local and global.

See student examples >

Materials and Supplies Needed

  • 4-ply illustration board cut to desired size
  • Magazines
  • Decorative papers
  • Newspapers
  • Glue and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paints
  • Mat medium
  • Brushes and water containers
  • Pencils and erasers

Length – (5) 50-minute class sessions


Class 1

  1. Introduce students to a variety of landscapes.
  2. Discuss formats (vertical, horizontal)
  3. Show movements in art including Romanticism, Realism, Photo-realism, and Postmodernism.
  4. Have students brainstorm ideas on paper about our local NH landscape.
  5. Use words that inspire a visual image to compose a rough draft.
  6. Have students think about memories they have, in addition to using their imagination to compose a landscape that holds personal meaning.

Classes 2-4

  1. Students will select the dimensions and format of their piece and cut illustration board to size.
  2. The rough sketch will be redrawn on the board.
  3. Students will use collage elements and acrylic paint to interpret the landscape image envisioned.
  4. Collage materials will be used for their color, texture, value, etc., and not for the visible image they depict. Text can also be used as tone and texture.
  5. Students will utilize the formal elements of art and be aware of foreground, middle ground and background.
  6. Students will make a decision whether or not to include figures or wildlife in their work.
  7. Mat medium will be used to coat the final work to create a unified surface.
  8. Five minutes before the end of each work session, the students can share their progress with their peers, ask for informal advice, write notes or ideas in their sketchbook and clean up their workspace.

Class 5

  1. Group critique.
  2. Students will display their finished work in the classroom.
  3. Each student will be given the opportunity to discuss their process and verbalize which aspects of the NH landscape they are emphasizing.
  4. Students will articulate their individual aspirations for their piece.
  5. Classmates will be asked to give positive feedback relating to the learning objectives.

Corresponding Standards
National Standards

  • Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.
  • Content Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
  • Content Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Content Standard 5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.
  • Content Standard 6: Making connections between the visual arts and other disciplines.
New Hampshire Standards
  • Standard 1: Apply appropriate media, techniques and processes.
  • Standard 2: Identify and apply the elements of visual art and principles of design.
  • Standard 4: Analyze the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Standard 5: Analyze, interpret and evaluate their own and others work.


  1. Does the student show engagement with the topic through discussion and idea generation?
  2. Does the student brainstorm verbal and visual ideas on paper?
  3. Does the students’ work exhibit thoughtful process and an understanding of visual means of communication?
  4. Can the student discuss their own work and the work of their peers in context of the learning goals?

New Vocabulary Words
Mixed media
an artwork that is created from more than one medium. No single medium dominates.
Collage an artistic composition of materials and objects pasted over a surface, often with unifying lines and color.
Picture plane the flat surface of the canvas, paper or support upon which the artwork is created.
Postmodernism of or relating to art, architecture, or literature that reacts against earlier modernist principles, as by reintroducing traditional or classical elements of style or by carrying modernist styles or practices to extremes.
Pictorial representation the representation of reality in a painting, drawing or other work of art.
Isometric perspective a system used to represent depth on a two dimensional surface.  Things in the distance are made smaller, but parallel lines do not converge.
Stacked perspective – showing depth by placing parallel base lines one on top of another.
Narrative painting a painting that represents a story or specific moment in time.

Interdisciplinary Extensions
  1. Science: Research how pollution has affected the New Hampshire landscape over the past 100 years.
  2. Business: What percentage of the New Hampshire tourist industry is related to the landscape and natural resources?
  3. Multicultural Studies: Compare and contrast landscape painting in Western and Eastern cultures. When does man dominate? When is man insignificant to nature?

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Jasper Francis Cropsey, Winter Landscape, North Conway, NH, 1859
Jasper Francis Cropsey, Winter Landscape, North Conway, NH, 1859
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Jasper Francis Cropsey, An Indian Summer Morning in the White Mountains, 1857
Jasper Francis Cropsey, An Indian Summer Morning in the White Mountains, 1857
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Albert Bierstadt, Moat Mountain Intervale, New Hampshire, circa 1862
Albert Bierstadt, Moat Mountain, Intervale, New Hampshire, c. 1862
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Sophia Towne Darrah, Mount Chocorua, New Hampshre, 1856
Sophia Towne Darrah, Mount Chocorua, New Hampshire, 1856
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