For the past couple of weeks, Fifth Grade has been studying American art, and specifically the landscapes of Thomas Cole. He went out into nature, sketched what he saw, then returned to his studio to compose his paintings. With that in mind, we went outside to do some sketches of nature. Once we had a good selection, we brought them back inside and started combining the images into one finished image. The drawing was supposed to be a little bit surreal, since it was made up of an assortment of bits and pieces from observation and imagination. That produced very different sketches throughout the classroom. The second step to the project was including a painter in the landscape. Thomas Cole painted himself into The Oxbow to let us get a better perspective on how massive and powerful nature is in comparison to just one small man. So the students took turns sketching each other from a top-back view, as if we were peeking over their shoulders. Finally, we did a crash course on how to paint grass, leaves, and clouds with textures, shadows, and highlights, and set to work on the final product. They got finished just in time for the art show, and they looked magnificent!