Educator Hannah Graney recently used our education resource on Albert Namatjira for her class unit on landscape painting. The students responded to Albert Namatjira’s watercolour landscapes in AGSA’s collection, in particular his work, River Red Gum – Salam, to create their own tree portraits.

‘Students began by making observational drawings of trees in the school grounds using charcoal and pencil. Then they took photos of their favourite trees considering the composition of the image. We discussed Namatjira’s vibrant use of colour and experimented with cool colours to make the background recede and warm colours to draw the viewers’ attention to the foreground. Students focused on capturing the unique texture and colours in the bark and leaves by mixing complementary colours together to recreate the natural characteristics.

We compared Namatjira’s European style of painting the Australian landscape to works by John Wolseley, who experiments with mark-making and layering to compose his large-scale works. Students responded through class discussions and talked about their different choice in materials, subject matter and the cultural background of the artists’.

Hannah Graney | Visual Arts Teacher | Thorndon Park Primary School