MASTERPIECE: Persevering the Long Walk Toward Sovereignty – by Baje Whitethorne, Sr. CONCEPT: Navajo Art GRADE: Fourth LESSON: Landscape watercolor of the world around us Objectives: Learn about the Navajo history and culture and the life of a Navajo artist, make a painting expressing each student’s own place in the world, and master mixing primary colors to make secondary colors Vocabulary: Shape, Pattern, Background, Foreground, Border Materials: Watercolor paper Butcher paper or newspaper for desks Watercolors – red, yellow and blue Paint brushes Water bowls Black markers Spray bottle for water (optional) Process: 1. Read the book “Father’s Boots” to the class and share the biography of the author/artist, as well as the attached information regarding the history and culture of the Navajo. In the biography, be sure to focus on: He grew up on a reservation and lived in a hogan Even though his family had no money, he had a very happy childhood The items he remembers most from his childhood are 2 rain barrels where his family kept fresh rain water and . . . A blue metal folding chair that was his only possession that was his and his alone. He kept it in the shade during the summer to keep it cool; he could put his face on it to cool himself off. The rain barrels and blue folding chair are symbols of his happy childhood, and he includes them in most of his paintings. 2. Discuss the painting and the border around the painting. 3. Discuss the students’ “physical place in the world (the landscape around them, what they see on the horizon, etc.)” 4. Cover desks with butcher paper or newspaper. Dampen the watercolor paper by brushing it with clean water. This can be done with the spray bottle filled with water. 5. Have students freely brush the colors over the paper, leaving some areas white. Experiment with primary colors by layering them to make secondary colors and to produce depth, foreground and background. Have them repeat lines, shapes and colors. 6. When the painting is dry, have students outline some of the areas with a black marker to distinguish objects. Vocabulary Definitions: Shape: A flat figure created when actual or implied lines meet to enclose a space. A change in color or shading can define a shape. Shapes can be divided into several types: geometric (square, triangle, circle) and organic (irregular in outline). Pattern: A choice of lines, colors or shapes, repeated over and over in a planned way. Background: Parts of artwork that appear to be in the distance or behind the objects in the foreground. Foreground: In a scene or artwork, the part that seems near or close to you. Border: A decorative band around the edge of an artwork that frames the work. MASTERPIECE: Persevering the Long Walk Toward Sovereignty by Baje Whitethorne, Sr. In the painting, Whitethorne depicts his peoples’ return journey back home to Arizona from Bosque Redondo, a desolate tract of land on the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico. The painting is based on the actual 300 mile march in 1868, four years after 8,000 Navajos were rounded up and forced from their homeland. About the Artist – Baje Whitethorne, Sr. was born in Shonto, Arizona. After high school, he enrolled in NAU to study fine arts. His pallet uses only the three primary colors – red, blue and yellow – which he mixes to create his own colors that give the viewer feeling, texture and realness. His works reflect his pleasant memories of his early life on the Navajo Reservation and include rocks, canyons, trees, colorful skies, hogans, sheep pens, ramadas and his trademark blue folding chair. His paintings are finely detailed and alive. Mr. Whitethorne also has written and illustrated a number of children’s books that retell Native American legends. He lives in Flagstaff, AZ. CONCEPT: Navajo Art GRADE: Fourth LESSON: Landscape watercolor of the world around us VOCABULARY: Shape, Pattern, Background, Foreground, Border Biographical Information: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bronzesmith.com/assets/imag es/derived/434ac14fa4125.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bronzesmith.com/artist/ind ex.php%3Fid%3D43&h=114&w=114&sz=3&hl=en&start=16&tbnid=vZW98FOENXJlk M:&tbnh=87&tbnw=87&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbaje%2Bwhitethorne%26svnum%3D 10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D Additional Baje Whitethorne works: http://images.google.com/images?q=baje+whitethorne&hl=en Article about Navajo hogans: http://www.kstrom.net/isk/maps/houses/hogan.html Baje Whitethorne, Sr.
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