Water and the Artwork of Michaela Goade 
Meets the learning standards for grades 4-5 (can be adapted)  
Media Type:  Watercolor/Natural Dye
Subject Integration: Fine Arts, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science

Formal Lesson Plan and TEKS information

Materials: writing materials, watercolor paper/manila paper/heavy craft paper, homemade natural dyes and mordants (See Natural Dye lesson plan), water, brushes, cup 

This lesson provides 10 new vocabulary words: 

  • Movement
  • Rhythm
  • Wet on Dry
  • Wet on Wet
  • Contamination
  • Cross-contamination
  • Cohesive Forces
  • Adhesion
  • Watershed
  • Water Table 

How do the artwork and techniques of Michaela Goade teach us about water pollution and all its impacts? Let’s learn more about multi-award winning artist, Michaela Goade, member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, through her artist biography: ABOUT THE ARTIST — Michaela Goade 

Activity 1

Consider the properties and behaviors of water and watercolor paint. Now consider the artistic principles of rhythm and movement. Let’s verbalize and/or pantomime the relationship between rhythm, movement, and water! 

Enjoy this read-along video of We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade:

How were rhythm and movement conveyed in the illustrations? How did the images and techniques highlight the importance of water? How did the artwork make you feel? 

Activity 2

Do you know what water source(s) supply your community?

Research the watershed, the watertable, annual rainfall/consumption, contamination, and other factors that have impacted your community in the past 5 years. 

Share… Reflect! 

Activity 3

Time to create! Lightly use a pencil draw a simple image made of large shapes on a piece of watercolor paper. The image should: 

  1. Convey the importance and properties of water 
  1. Fill the entire page, from edge to edge 
  1. Not contain any details or shading rendered in pencil 
  1. Express movement and rhythm 

Use a variety of mordant solutions (e.g. salt water, baking soda, cream of tartar, vinegar,) to create random droplets, splashes and shapes on the paper. **Use a separate brush for each mordant solution to avoid cross-contamination. Allow paper to dry. 

Use natural vegetable dyes to paint the image. Use wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques. Observe the reactions that occur between some of the pigments and the mordant. Observe examples of cohesive forces and adhesion

The natural dyes will evolve over several hours. Additional layers of dye can be added to saturate the hue. 

Share… Reflect! How did this artistic process relate to the message of We are Water Protectors

Review of Vocabulary for this Lesson:

Movement (visual)- the principle of art used to create the impression of action in a work of art. 

Rhythm (visual)– A visual tempo or beat. The principle of design that refers to a regular repetition of elements of art to produce the look and feel of movement 

Wet on Dry– “wet paint applied onto dry paint”, produces sharp edges and separation  

Wet on Wet- “wet paint applied onto wet paint”, the colors will spread into one another, producing soft edges and blending  

Contamination– the action or state of making or being made impure by polluting or poisoning. 

Cross-contamination- unintentional transfer of bacteria or other contaminants from one surface, substance, etc., to another especially because of unsanitary handling procedures 

Cohesive Forces– the force of attraction between molecules of the same substance. 

Adhesion- adhesion is defined as the force of attraction between different substances 

Watershed- an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 

Water Table- The water table is the upper surface of the zone of saturation. The zone of saturation is where the pores and fractures of the ground are saturated with water. 

Share… Reflect!  How can we use our own artistry to positively contribute to our communities?