3rd Year, Art Education Specialization
Quebec Artists Unit Plan
By introducing Francophone artists, the unit contributed to providing an atmosphere for the class with a feeling of community, since members of the class were all Francophone, and many of them Quebec natives. The main learning objectives of this unit included the creation of a positive working space, technique development as well as the application of new skills and knowledge.
As an art educator in Quebec, I believe it is important to introduce and explore the work of artists who share our nationality. As a distinctive province in Canada, Quebec has a rich cultural identity and language, which through its history, has struggled to conserve. For an acrylic painting class I teach to adult women leisure learners, I designed a unit plan that promotes the investigation and discovery of art within our community. The theme for this unit plan is based on the various techniques of artists from Quebec. Each lesson focuses on specific Francophone artists, groups or movements and provides participants with an art historical background. To recognize and learn the techniques employed by the featured artists, students are presented different styles of painting, such as modernist abstraction. The rationale for this unit plan stems from the interests and learning histories of these students: they have been taking acrylic painting courses together for many years; have previously explored colour theory, as well as the elements and principles of design; and, I noticed, have particularly enjoyed and were motivated by learning about artists and art history. The class was comprised of all women who were either from Quebec or have lived here for most of their lives, therefore this particular subject had personal significance for them. The social objectives behind the Quebec Artists unit plan hold an important role in the success of these lessons. By introducing Francophone artists, the unit contributed to providing an atmosphere for the class with a feeling of community, since members of the class were all Francophone, and many of them Quebec natives. The main learning objectives of this unit included the creation of a positive working space, technique development as well as the application of new skills and knowledge. The unit plan is based on examining four artists, groups or movements that held a great significance in twentieth century Quebec art. The duration of each session was three hours. The first lessons looked at the Group of Seven and the Beaver Hall women, which encouraged the class to begin thinking about different techniques such as bold colour and brushstrokes. The last lesson shifted the focus to abstract painting, specifically the work of the Plasticiens, and the participants were encouraged to explore the emotional expression of painting. Students were challenged to think about what they learned about colour and different brushstrokes from the previous lessons and how they can apply this knowledge in the later lessons. As I identify in the example of one of the four lesson plans, below, in exploring the Plasticien movement, my students were asked to first use simple geometric shapes to create an abstract painting, and for their final lesson, they were invited to create an abstract series.
Example of the lesson plan: The Plasticien Movement This lesson will span over the course of two three-hour sessions.
To highlight the connections between the unit plan and the Ministry of Education visual arts learning links, in my descriptive text below I have referenced their number along with an asterisk.
Art Making Objectives:
The category of art explored in this lesson will be abstract art. Students will create abstract art in the style of Plasticien-affiliated artist Fernand Toupin (1930-2009). They will use acrylic paint mixed with modeling paste to shape and model small crevasse-like images on their canvases. *8 & 9
A slide-show presentation will be shown at the beginning of this lesson to motivate the students. The presentation will include background information about Les Plasticiens artists: Louis Belzile, Jauran, Jean-Paul Jerome, and Fernand Toupin. It will include images such as Le Solitaire by Louis Belzile, Composition abstraite (no. 15) by Jauran, and Le Montagne De Silex by Jean-Paul Jerome. Images that will be shown by Fernand Toupin will include: Jeux sur neige I & II, Les Sables de fevrier and the Miniature series. Information that will also be included in the slide show will be the manifesto written by the group of artists. The educator will ask questions such as, “How are these artists the same/ different?” and “How are they different from Les Automatistes?” Exhibition catalogues and other texts will also been shown as reference material, including Jauran et les premiers plasticiens: 21 avril-22 mai 1977 (Musée d’art contemporain-Montréal), Painting on the edge: Geometric abstraction in Montreal, the 1950s, and Prisme d’yeux; manifesto. *5, 6, 7 & 9
At the end of the activity, the students will group all their easels with their canvases on them. The group will sit around in front of the canvases to discuss each other’s work. They can make positive comments on what they enjoy about each others paintings, as well as how they feel about doing this type of abstract painting. Do they like using the modeling paste? Do they like the effect it creates on their painting? My experience using this lesson in the community setting was excellent; the women created beautiful final pieces and had an enjoyable experience doing so. Some of them decided that they preferred to spend their time working on one final piece, whereas others did create a series of paintings. They were pleased to learn about historical elements of the lesson, Les Plasticiens, and see images of these artists’ work. Participants were especially eager to use modeling paste, a medium that they were not familiar with. Since this was a new medium for the class, I conducted a thorough demonstration to show how modeling paste can be combined with paint and used to achieve various textures. This allowed them to feel more comfortable exploring the medium and using it when creating their art pieces. While some worked quickly and finished their paintings within the two designated sessions, others required more time; which was not a problem considering the relaxed atmosphere of the class. I found that using the theme of Quebec Artists in this lesson/unit plan to be very successful in this community setting since the participants were Francophone, Bilingual, and many of them Quebec natives. This unit allowed them to learn about influential artists in Quebec and how their art has contributed to Quebec’s significance within twentieth century art. They found the historical aspect interesting and relatable because they were familiar with Quebec’s political/social events that took place in the 20th century.
Davis, A. (1979). Frontiers of our dreams. Winnipeg, Canada: The Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Fernand Toupin (2012) . Retrieved from http://galeriebernard.ca/cgi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=50&lang=en
Fernand Toupin (n.d.). Retrieved from http://montroyalartgallery.com/english/toupin.htm
Filmer, S. (2012). Fernand Toupin’s Jeux sur neige, I & II. Retrieved from http://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/en/AGNS_Halifax/about_us/collection/acquisitions/acquisitionsspotlight/Spring 2009/Jeux_sur_neige.aspx
Hume, H. D. (2010). The art teacher’s book of lists. Second Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Patterson, J., Concordia University, & Concordia University. (2001). Painting on the edge :Geometric abstraction in montreal, the 1950s.
Québec, & Plasticiens. (1977). Jauran et les premiers plasticiens :21 avril-22 mai 1977, musée d’art contemporain-montréal. –. Montréal: le Musée.
Prisme d’yeux;manifesto (1955). Montréal: S.N.]]>