a large-scale piece. The key to making it
appear as a grand landscape of immense
scale is to direct the student to place very
small human figures somewhere in the
landscape. This can change an ordinary
landscape into one of dream-like wonder
and provide an opportunity for the student to tell a story through art.
1. Select a photograph of an outdoor
scene that contains some interesting elements and varied color.
2. Plan the composition of the chalk
painting using the three grounds:
foreground, middle ground, and
3. Lightly draw in the lines for the
natural elements with a neutral
chalk on brown paper.
4. Use the side of the chalk to fill in the
color of any hills, rivers, etc., always
working dark colors first, and tap off
extra chalk dust (do not brush off
with your hands or blow on it!).
5. Work from the top (background)
to the bottom (foreground).
6. Use the point/edge of chalk to add
in finer details.
7. Blend pastel colors with fingers, as
desired, or use a tissue. Keep baby
wipes handy to keep fingers clean.
8. Draw in shadows appropriately using dark purple or dark blue.
9. Last, add in the small figures to the
foreground to denote scale.
10. Spray over pastel drawing with a
light application of cheap aerosol
hairspray (which will act as a fixative), and let dry.
As in all art projects with kids, the
process matters more than the product.
Tackling a larger surface and difficult
materials like chalk pastels can help the
student relate in some small way to the
challenges a traveling artist would experience on an expedition to the Wild
West—usually while traveling in a keel
boat, on a horse, or by foot! He had to
face the challenges of carrying and caring for supplies, protecting the finished
art from loss or damage, and just basic
survival! Moran and Beirstadt were just
two among many artists and early photographers who dared to see with their
own eyes what lay past the great Mississippi River. It is amazing that we have
these fantastic grand landscapes to memorialize the most courageous period of
exploration in our history and provide a
testament to the incredible beauty God
provides us in His creation!
Pat has been drawing and painting since she
was able to hold a crayon. She has a degree
in art education, a teaching credential, and is
an experienced teacher. In addition to being
the master artist for the See the Light ART
CLASS DVD series, Pat serves as Director of
Children’s Ministries at a large church where
she is blessed to be able to blend her passions
for art, teaching, and reaching kids with
God’s Word. Pat lives in Southern California
with her husband and two teen boys. See
the Light’s ART CLASS lessons are available
on DVD, and our See The Light website is a
great resource for young artists (
1. National Park Service:
2. History of Photography:
3. New World Encylopedia:
4. National Gallery of Art: