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Rosemary Ferguson Watercolors

“Rosemary Ferguson Watercolors” Lesson Plan

Grade: (9-12) High School
Subject Area: Visual Arts
Topic/Theme: Artist Environments

Students will be able to:

  • Discuss how artist Rosemary Ferguson is influenced by her environment based on the subject matter of her paintings.
  • Develop a painting based on their own environment and how it impacts their memories/experiences in life.
  • Create a watercolor painting utilizing color theory.
National Learning Standards/State Standards

National Standards:

VA: Re.7.1.Ia Hypothesize ways in which art influences perception and understanding of human experiences.

VA: Re8.1.Ia Interpret an artwork or collection of works, supported by relevant and sufficient evidence found in the work and its various contexts.

State Standards:

VAHSPA.CR.1a. Develop work through open-ended inquiry, consideration of multiple options, weighing consequences, and assessing results

VAHSPA.CR.3c. Understand and utilize color theory (e.g. arbitrary, optical, tonal relationships, reflected color, expressive color).

Questions for Viewing
  • What does this body of work have in common in terms of medium and subject matter?
  • Looking at specific artworks can pick out color schemes? What are they?
  • What makes these artworks stand out? I.e. Lighting, reflections, texture?
  • Does the collection of work tell a story? What is your interpretation?
  • Would you consider this realistic, abstract or non-objective?

Activity Setting: Classroom


  • 9 x 12 Strathmore Watercolor paper, 140 lbs.
  • Watercolor sets or liquids.
  • A variety of brushes in various sizes.
  • Water cups
  • Paper towels
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pens
  • Sketchbooks

Subject Areas: Visual Arts

Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours.

After viewing the exhibition, have your students discuss where they’ve grown up. As Rosemary Ferguson paints her environment from growing up in the Outer banks, what would our own look like? Maybe tall city buildings or baseball fields. Maybe the woods or a dirt road or a large field or farm. How can we paint our own environments to tell a story for others to see?

After discussing environments have your students sketch out several ideas and then pick one to paint. Demonstrate how to first draw our environment with pencil and eraser and have the subject matter completely laid out before adding color.

Demonstrate with your students the importance of color schemes. Have students choose their color scheme and require that they also blend those colors together to create new colors but will allow them to keep a harmonized painting.

Demonstrate how to apply the watercolor paint, blend, etc.

Once finished, have your students view each other’s work to finalize the discussion of artist environments and how they can shape our work.