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surrealistic landscape

mixed media

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Objectives: Students learn to combine multiple medias to achieve an aesthetic effect.

Essential questions:

1. What is surrealism?
2. How to draw a tree?
3. How to apply highlights and shadows on a black illustration board?
4. How to achieve a necessary value using bleach over a black surface?
5. How to use oil pastels and pencils to add depth?

Draw a surrealistic landscape that includes:

  • Space in the drawing - background, middle-ground, and foreground
  • At least three trees
  • All objects should look three-dimensional and realistic in appearance
  • Drawing should be surrealistic in nature - dream-like subject matter

Media to use:

  • Bleach
  • Oil pastels
  • Colored pencils

Turn in your sketch for a separate grade

Project grade will be based on: creativity, drawing quality, 3-D quality, use of art materials, all requirements are incorporated, craftsmanship, complexity


tree drawing
tree imagination


Surrealism 1924-1950’s

André Breton

Salvador Dali,

Rene Magritte

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. It is dedicated to expressing the imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and convention. It was an artistic movement that brought together artists, thinkers and researchers in hunt of sense of expression of the unconscious.

André Breton is known as the founder of surrealism. He wrote the first Surrealist Manifesto (1924), in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism" He experimented with "automatic writing" - spontaneous writing without censoring thoughts. The movement's principal aim was ‘to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality'.

The major artists of the movement were Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Joan Miró. Surrealism's impact on popular culture can still be felt today, most visibly in advertising.

Surrealism is art of subconscious. It can bring to life all kinds of your dreams, fears, inner thoughts.

Salvador Dali

Rene Magritte

painting style: realistic, 3-D, attention to details
objects: usually familiar objects, but painted to look strange, distorted, mysterious
setting: unusual for the objects, distorted reality
subject: dreams, imagination, the art of the unconscious mind


Spend 2-3 hours sketching surrealistic landscapes (should include at least 3 trees and have FOREGROUND, MID-GROUND, and BACKGROUD).

Final sketch should look realistic, but "with a twist". Create a dream-like reality.

Research surrealists and their artwork for inspiration.



Redraw your landscape on a black illustration board.

Use regular bleach and Q-tip to lighten up some areas to support the light source. Use multiple applications to create textures.

Each black color illustration board would have a different bleached color - it depends on the dyes that were used for the board.

Use bleach to add bark texture.

You can emphasize this texture later with colored pencils.


Use color pencils for coloring small details and backgrounds.

  • Use small pencil strokes
  • Blend and mix multiple colors
  • Strokes should not be obvious - they should support the form of the object and its texture

Apply colors, values, and textures to the trees - make them look round.

Each tree and its parts should have at least 3 values:

  • highlight
  • light
  • shadow

Treat each part of a tree as a cylinder - apply values to support the "roundness" of the tree and its parts.

Do not outline your objects - use value contrasts and shadows .

Keep the light source and light-and-dark pattern consistent throughout the drawing.

Make sure that if your light is coming from the right, all shadows should be on the left, etc.

That should be applied to all objects.

Apply colors, values, and texture to the leaves.

Remember how you drew a tree during the practice assignment? (here)

  • Tree crown should be three-dimensional, not flat.
  • Tree crown can be any color

Details will make your drawing a success.

Use oil pastels to color close-up objects.

Pastels are also great for foreground or background.

  • Oil pastels should create contrasts and color blending.
  • Use only small strokes when working with oil pastels
  • Use at least 2-3 colors for each shape
  • Use oil pastels to support the forms (different values) and textures (strokes)


preliminary sketch
surrealistic quality
at least 3 trees
drawing steps
landscape has depth: foreground, mid-ground, background
drawings are detailed and realistic - trees drawing is according to steps we've practiced
Application of each process (bleach, colored pencils, oil pastels)
3-D effect value shading (light source, highlights, shades, shadows, etc.)
Shading quality (strokes are small, colors are blended)
Artistic quality:
Project is finished