Compositions within landscapes – Part 1 – Painting

Students investigate Aboriginal art to inform the practice of structural and cultural frame in art making through landscape painting.

Students will interpret their understanding of one genre and composition through their own art making.


  • 4.1 uses a range of strategies to explore different artmaking conventions and procedures to make artworks.
  • 4.2 explores the function of and relationships between the artist - artwork - world - audience.
  • 4.3 makes artworks that involve some understanding of the frames.
  • 4.4 recognises and uses aspects of the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter in the visual arts.
  • 5.1 develops range and autonomy in selecting and applying visual arts conventions and procedures to make artworks.
  • 5.2 makes artworks informed by their understanding of the function of and relationships between the artist - artwork - world - audience.
  • 5.3 makes artworks informed by an understanding of how the frames affect meaning.
  • 5.4 investigates the world as a source of ideas, concepts and subject matter in the visual arts.


3 weeks.

Driving question

What do artists create for a public audience?


Students follow the practice of contemporary and historical compositions by examining signs and symbols as a form of communication linked to cultural significance.

  • Aboriginal and Indigenous
  • Environment
  • Literacy.


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Before investigating Aboriginal art, consider your local community and their resources. Get in contact with the local Aboriginal education consultative group (AECG) and Aboriginal elders to organise visits and excursions.

Recommended reading

Before commencing this sequence, teachers are encouraged to read through the Protocols for producing Aboriginal Visual Arts written by The Australia Council for the Arts.

Students will:

Students will:

Students will:

  1. look at the landscape by Albert Namatjira, Mt Hermannsburg Finke River c 1946-51
  2. print out an enlarged colour copy of the artwork
  3. identify the foreground, midground and background
  4. study perspective within the art and complete the activities below in their books:
    1. What is the time and place of this image?
    2. What story does it tell?
    3. Construct a story told by the artwork of Albert Namatjira from an Aboriginal perspective.
  5. write a story based on events that have happened in their local community
  6. create a landscape that reflects their story and its intended meanings
  7. view the Elements and principles of design slideshow
  8. watch the following clips, noting the steps and instruction in their books
    1. How to prime a canvas
    2. Painting - Mixing Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors
    3. Acrylics: How to Paint a complete Landscape with acrylics: Painting Techniques
  9. How to draw and paint landscapes in perspective.

Written responses are documented and shared within collaborative discussion facilitated by the teacher.

Students will:

  • document the process of their artmaking within a journal. This can be their visual arts process diary, or an online blog through sites such as Google classroom.
  • photograph or sketch the process used
  • write a response to the process used following literacy structures, language forms and features.



Students could:

  • discuss and compare traditional forms of Aboriginal painting with contemporary practices of artists
  • consider the different perspectives in landscape compositions to inspire and influence artmaking
  • watch the video 'Daniel Boyd interviewed in 2007' on 'We Call Them Pirates Out Here' from the MCA webpage and noting the information below
    • How are the views in this artwork different to a Western perspective?
    • What is missing from the artwork?
    • What is included?
    • What stories can be told by looking at the artwork through different eyes?

Life skills


  • LS 8 explores ways to develop ideas in artworks

Students could:

Please note - this resource is a South Australian publication and the works have no direct connection to lands in NSW.


Feedback is formative for the duration of the project.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below.


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Visual Arts 7–10 Syllabus (2003) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.

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