Curricular Expectations

Visual Arts, Grade 9, Open (AVI10)

  Complete Curricular Expectations


This ArtiFACT assignment involves learning, experimenting and producing your own work of art.

Read the information about Lawren S. Harris and the Group of Seven, and then prepare your creative energy. We are about to reproduce one of the most famous paintings in Canadian art history.


To complete this assignment you will need to prepare two things: your materials and your mind.


To create your version of Mt. Lefroy you will need the following materials:

  • 20 lb. bond paper 5 ½" x 8 ½"
  • Sketch paper 9"x12"
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • One downloaded reproduction of Mt. Lefroy from ArtiFACT.
  • 90lb.watercolour paper - two sheets for each person 4"x 5" and 10" x 11"
  • Blendable watercolour crayons and water containers
  • #6, #8, #10, and #12 watercolour paint brushes
  • Masking tape and paper towels


The objective of this assignment is to reproduce a classic Canadian painting. Mt. Lefroy has become a Canadian icon and Harris is among our most famous and internationally recognized painters.

To pay proper respect, we should begin by learning more about Lawren S. Harris and his art. The ArtiFACT can provide some answers. Read the ArtiFACT about Harris and then answer the following questions.

  1. Why was Lawren Harris discouraged when he first saw the Rocky Mountains? How did his opinion change?
  2. Why was Harris able to devote a lot of time to his painting? Why was this freedom important to the Group of Seven?
  3. What impact did Harris' spiritual interests have on his painting?
  4. How are Lawren Harris' and Emily Carr's opinions about the role of the artist similar? Click here for a helpful clue.


It will help you in your understanding of Harris if you expand your knowledge even further. Click here to learn about key- word searches. Then do a keyword search for each of the following terms.

  1. Theosophy
  2. Canadian Abstract Art and Lawren S. Harris, Les Automatistes, Painters Eleven
  3. Lawren S. Harris
  4. Mt. Lefroy

Your search of terms should introduce you to the concepts of Theosophy, including the important use of colour. You should also be able to find information about Lawren S. Harris and abstract art.


Once your studio is prepared and you have completed your research, turn your attention to the images of Mt. Lefroy posted in ArtiFACT.

Art Making Method

Follow these steps to produce your work:

  1. Begin with a preparatory drawing of Mt. Lefroy.
    • ArtiFACT has a digital reproduction of Harris' original drawing. Print a copy and look at it closely. Notice that Harris has used a grid to help him with proportion and scale.
    • Using your sketchbook and a ruler, prepare a grid and then transfer the image of Harris' work to your own sketchbook. Do not trace the image.
    • As you draw, emphasize the contrast between light and dark. Subtle shifts in value will lend a three-dimensional quality to your work. Dramatic contrasts in value will help define and sharpen your image.
  2. Compare and contrast the selection of oil paintings of Mt. Lefroy in ArtiFACT. Notice that Harris has altered the subject matter in different works. Artists are allowed creative flexibility. Click here to learn why this flexibility is important.
  3. Exercise your creative flexibility by creating a second preparatory drawing for Mt. Lefroy. Use the principles of composition that you have studied in class to rework the image and develop an original version.
  4. When your second drawing is complete, you are ready to begin painting. Tape a piece of 90 lb. watercolour paper to your desk. Use your preparatory drawings to help guide your third and final work: the watercolour painting. As you work, keep your pencil, sketchbook and bond paper handy to record new ideas for composition. Work out these ideas using a thumbnail sketch before including the changes in your watercolour painting. Click here for studio hints.


Techniques of pencil sketching

  1. The pencil can be used in a variety of ways:
    • On its side, for thicker darker lines
    • On the tip for details
    • It is helpful to rotate the pencil to maintain a consistent point.
  2. A sideways-held pencil provides maximum wrist motion and creates a large arc, covering more area.
  3. A loose grip is better for line control (easier to manipulate the pencil)
  4. The "writing" position is used only for detail. It provides far less movement and tends to scratch the surface of the paper.

What is a thumbnail sketch?

A thumbnail sketch is made to help an artist sort out the composition and arrangement of subject matter in a finished drawing or painting. It is small, often 2" square (hence the name) and usually done in black and white.

  1. Start by making a rough outline of your subject.
  2. Fill in any important details that will contribute to your composition
  3. Stop and assess your sketch so far
  4. If you like it continue on, if not make the changes
  5. Next add values - the "lights" and "darks" in the scene.

Using watercolour crayons

  1. Colour in area with watercolour crayons, then add water to blend colours. When dry you can add more detail and darken colours with crayon again.
  2. Dip the crayon in water and draw with it. Crayon must be dried before returning it to the tray.
  3. Wet the brush in water and pass it over the crayon to pick up the paint, then paint with the loaded brush.
  4. Combine different colours of crayons in one area for variety and interest. (different greens mixed with yellow and blue)
  5. Create a variety of lines and textures with crayon (leaves, needles, rocks)
  6. Use the crayon to draw in different directions depending on objects depicted (curved lines of hills, horizontal lines in water, vertical lines for distant forest area.)

Creating depth using watercolour crayons

  1. For area closest to you:
    • Press hard with crayons to create dark colours
    • Add more detail
    • Use bright colours and a variety of colour combinations
  2. For areas further back:
    • Do not press hard with crayons, instead press lightly
    • Simplify shapes and omit detail
    • Use less bright colours (perhaps more bluish tones)

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