Buffalo Painting Art Project

The paintings in the book, Paintings of the American West, depict the lives of Native Americans, complete with beautiful sunsets, buffalo hunts and vast plains. As part of my unit on Native American Costumes, Customs and Culture, this “buffalo hunt” was a huge success with my 2nd grade students.
We talked about buffalo and bison and the misnomers surrounding the names. Check out this website for surprising facts! I directed them through the series of selected paintings

What you’ll need for the Buffalo
12″ x 18″ black drawing paper
White oil pastel
Small sponge
Brown tempera paint
Scissors and glue

For the Background
12″ x 18″ white drawing paper
Earth colored tempera paints
Sky colored tempera paints
Step One: Drawing the Bison

Demonstrate a simple drawing of a bison. Remember to point out the very big head and rather small legs! Here is a good drawing to print out for reference. Using a white oil pastel, I like to begin at one end of the black paper and draw the eye. Then, draw one tusk, the big forehead and then the back. Make sure the shoulder goes up and up (think hunchback) and curve downwards for a small butt. Add legs and other details.
Using a small sponge and some brown tempera paint, dab the paint around the shoulder and head area.
Step Two: Cutting out the Bison

After the paint dries, cut along the white line of the bison. Some kids made smaller bison and had extra room on their black paper for another bison. Draw and paint as many as you would like.

Using a palette of sky and earth colors (encourage mixing here), make a line across the length of the page. The sky will be above this line and the earth will be below. Using the calendar photographs as inspiration, the kids created their own landscape. Some used browns, oranges and yellows while others used traditional blues and greens. Whatever choice they make is fine. After the paint dries, glue on the bison.

Second Grade Results!
Bison Art Lesson Gallery



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