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American Landscape

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Denis Byrd

on 5 July 2013

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Transcript of American Landscape

American Landscape and the Aesthetic Experience
American Landscape and the Aesthetic Experience
By using landscapes students can...
experience the painting on an individual level and create an unforgettable experience.

Writing Remembered Scenes
Assuming a Role in History Painting
Activity 1

Activity 2
"I Remember..."
When you look at "Snap the Whip" by Winslow Homer, write a vignette (a small, personal narrative)
that uses your senses to describe a remembered past or an imagined present.

What season
do you think
it is?
Where are you?
Can you imagine being in this scene?
Enter the landscape...Find a friend
and move around the painting with your writing. Discover this land as though you just arrived. Look at the weather, the place, the people, and nature. What is happening here , and what role will you play in this new world?
"Delaware Water Gap"
By George Inness
Washington Crossing the Delaware. Emanuel Leutze. Oil on Canvas. 1851.
Prisoners from the Front. Winslow Homer
Historical paintings
Record real or invented moments in history

Represent artistic
interpretations and propaganda.

Demonstrate that history is interpretation.

Place students within a historical context or point of view.

Asks students to take a different point of view.

Alternative Perspectives and Lost Voices
Unexpected characters provide an entry point for alternative narratives.

Encourages students to move beyond personal narrative

Students learn to imagine the perspective of those not included in the grand narrative.
Example: Spencer writing from the perspective of the figure of the black man in the prow.
Using paintings as landscapes for our writing
An opportunity to express empathy in their writing

Details in painting aid in creating a feeling or atmosphere in their writing.

Encourages students to seek suggestive implications of the images.
Engaging students with the American Landscape
writing vignettes
to be used with smaller paintings with more intimate scenery

inspire an intimate engagement: seeking to inhabit the painting as we come to know it

Inhabit the painting

We literally place ourselves into the painting, or at the edge of the painting, as we imagine the scenery as one that we once inhabited or continue to inhabit.

Why try this kind of writing?
Frederick Church
Thomas Cole
activate imagination

a way to create validity and a sense of solid setting

a way to include historical perspective
the painting becomes the setting
Young writers learn what it feels like to have a visual in their minds of the setting that they are trying to recreate for their readers.

They also learn to focus on detail and incorporate detail to create tone and sense of atmosphere.
First Student Activity
Writing imagined vignettes
small personal narratives

Orally walk students through a scene first (demonstrate how I may begin with "I remember," and then describe what I see in the painting as if it were in my mind's eye).

Remind students to incorporate their senses.
Model for students:
William Sidney Mount
Teaching visual literacy skills
inspires children to use observation and interpretation

observe details, and then include them in their vignettes

getting students to look closely is an important first step
Ask students:
Can you imagine being in this scene?

What would it feel like?

What would you do first?

What would you want to bring with you?
"I want to be in the painting because..."

Helps students begin to articulate what it is they notice in the painting and how they relate to the painting personally.
weaving narratives of observation and interpretation
Students share orally with peers,
then write narratives.
Why landscapes?
The thinking process is:
: how we notice detail/pattern
: how we question what we see
: how we express our response in writing by describing what we notice and the implications of this noticing
Going from visual knowledge to writing:
The Oxbow
by T. Cole
Why American Landscapes?
*Hudson River Painters, 19th century, America*

-Purpose of the paintings: to show Americans the great west, filled with adventure and promise. To inspire awe

-big size
-lots of detail
-covert symbolism
-show the power of America with physical space or place

*Paintings show a national identity for America in the 19th Century (exploration, dominion, Manifest Destiny)

The aesthetic experience can't be taught. We create opportunities for it.
The Hudson River School of Painters:
paintings that reflect the need to conquer in spite of fear of the unknown
1. The visual image becomes the 'prior' knowledge
2. We add our own knowledge (personal knowledge)
3. We create new
narratives, stories and knowledge.
The national identity of America in the 19th century and prominent beliefs about masculinity, righteousness, Manifest Destiny, and man's domain over nature.
Images become the selective narrative that become knowledge and history. Art leads to culture.
The Oxbow Narrative
"This morning Willie and I got caught on the other side of the river and we thought we were never going to make it back to the farm and our momma and poppa."
"When we felt the shore under us, we were afraid to get out of the river, because it was like a haunted woods there, it was so dark and scary..."
One tree had just been struck by lightning and...it made me think what could happen to us if we struck.
"One tree had just been struck by lightning and it was charred. It made me think what could happen to us if we were struck."
Finally I found an old tree trunk that was hollow, and we crawled inside...we heard a noise from the back of the hollow. It was...
Historical Journals
Author suggests that reading about historical journals can help students to understand the time period and writing more historically accurate stories.
Oral Storytelling & Social Aesthetic Experience
Students often engage each other within the paintings.
Communal environment and allows students and teacher build closer bonds with each other.
Justin's story
Interactive Storytelling demonstrates how a narrator moves around a painting.
Writing about American landscapes can transform the study of American History into an engaging learning experience.
Landscape art has social significance (settlement, knowledge, and power).
Learning pictorial knowledge within landscape art builds stronger observational skills.
Writing Historical Journals
Set Within
A Landscape Painting
Closing Discussion
1. How was the process of taking a visual image into writing?

2. Were you able to have a unique experience using the process?

3. How could this be important and beneficial in the art classroom?
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