Animals and Line influenced by Hester Miller Murray

Karen Schaschwary, Art Teacher, Chicago Heights, IL
  1. Students will create a drawing of an African animal and its habitat using at least four different lines (thick, thin, straight, wavy).
  2. Students will identify and describe at least three lines in Giraffes among the Trees and/or Zebras and Trees by Hester Miller Murray (1903-1984).
  3. Students will verbally explain where in Illinois Murray created artwork and where she received her education in art.
  4. Students will verbally explain why it is important to learn about past women artists from their community.
State Standards: 
25.A.1d, 26.B.1d
National Standards: 
(K-4) 1, 2
White drawing paper, coloring media (teachers can pick crayons, markers, or colored pencils), erasers, rulers, pencils
Questions and Answers: 
  1. Q: What is a line? What types of lines are there? Where do you see lines?
    A: A line is a long or continuous mark. There are straight, curvy, zig-zag, thick, think, long and short lines. Lines can be seen in drawings, paintings, sculptures, on signs, streets, trees, etc.
  2. Q: What lines can be seen in Giraffes among the Trees or Zebras and Trees?
    A: Thick lines as trees, thin lines as branches, thin and short lines in the Giraffes and Zebras, zig-zag lines in the Giraffes, curved lines in the Zebras, etc.
  3. Q: Where in Illinois did Hester Miller Murray create artwork and where did she receive her education?
    A: She worked in Wheaton and she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago.
  4. Q: Why is it important to learn about past women artists from the community?
    A: (Answers may vary.) Past women artists show us a unique perspective of our community, including what women knew, what they were interested in, and the value of their work.
Begin the lesson by reviewing what a line is, what the different types are, and where lines can be seen. Without introducing Murray, show students the two artworks and ask what lines can be seen. Introduce Murray shortly after by explaining where she made a lot of her artwork (Wheaton) and where she studied (Art Institute of Chicago). The teacher may have to review what studying art at a university means. Teacher will demonstrate the assignment and pass out materials, see objective 1. Teacher will review the meaning of habitat if needed before students begin. Students will work as the teacher circulates. Students will review line by identifying the use of line in their artworks. Students will also review the personal history of Murray. Students will explain why studying past women artists from the community is important. The teacher may assist students in their answers by asking first “why is it important for women to make art?”.