Activity Introduction

Lord Howe_Joshua Yeldham_LessonFrameQuick summary: Nature is filled with marks, patterns and beautiful designs that occur naturally and evolve rather frequently.
In this art lesson, students are invited to investigate visual patterns and how repetitive marks are used to create patterns and designs. While viewing the works of Joshua Yeldham, students will discover the combination of elements, shapes and line (in regular and irregular arrangements) that create patterns. The class will take on the role of an artist and create their own patterns and artwork and apply meaning to their intentions while observing nature.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will investigate the meaning of patterns and mark-making
  • Students create patterns and apply meaning to their artwork.

21st-century skills: 

 CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCultural UnderstandingDigital LiteracySocial Skills            

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 5 & 6 Visual Arts:

  • Develop and apply techniques and processes when making their artworks (ACAVAM115)

Years 7 & 8 Visual Arts:

  • Develop ways to enhance their intentions as artists through exploration of how artists use materials, techniques, technologies and processes (ACAVAM119)
  • Practise techniques and processes to enhance the representation of ideas in their art-making (ACAVAM121)
  • Analyse how artists use visual conventions in artworks (ACAVAR123)
  • Identify and connect specific features and purposes of visual artworks from contemporary and past times to explore viewpoints and enrich their art-making, starting with Australian artworks including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACAVAR124).

Syllabus outcomes Stage 3: VAS3.1, VAS3.2, VAS3.3, VAS3.4

Syllabus outcomes Stage 4: 4: 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6

General capabilities: Literacy, Personal and social Capabilities, Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability 

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 achievement standards: 

By the end of Year 6, students explain how ideas are represented in artworks they make and view. They describe the influences of artworks and practices from different cultures, times and places on their art making.

Students use visual conventions and visual arts practices to express a personal view in their artworks. They demonstrate different techniques and processes in planning and making artworks. They describe how the display of artworks enhances meaning for an audience.

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 achievement standards: 

By the end of Year 8, students identify and analyse how other artists use visual conventions and viewpoints to communicate ideas and apply this knowledge in their art making. They explain how an artwork is displayed to enhance its meaning. They evaluate how they and others are influenced by artworks from different cultures, times and places.

Students plan their art-making in response to the exploration of techniques and processes used in their own and others’ artworks. They demonstrate use of visual conventions, techniques and processes to communicate meaning in their artworks.

Topic: Artist in residence 

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Lord Howe Island – Artist in residence.

Time required: 100 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and encourage students to consider let go of perfectionism and to be present. 

Resources required:

  • A device capable of presenting a video to the class and downloading a booklet about Joshua Yeldham 
  • Large sheets of paper suitable for painting and sketching (to be pasted into the art portfolio)
  • Pattern making materials (pen, ink, pencil, paint, paintbrush etc)
  • Portfolio or booklet dedicated to the Joshua Yeldham art lessons
  • Student resource booklet: Joshua Yeldham Student Resource.

 After each lesson, students should paste, write, draw or annotate their art portfolio.

Portfolios have several important purposes, not only do they serve as a historical checklist of a student’s accomplishments, but they allow students to unpack their creativity and make connections between the process, newly acquired knowledge and experimentation.

Keywords: art, patterns, marks, abstract art, expressionism, nature, landscape, freedom, creativity, natural, evolving, patterns, mark-making.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Lord Howe_Joshua Yeldham_LessonFrameTeacher Preparation

Before presenting each lesson, ensure that you have watched the video about Joshua Yeldham and are ready to explore art-making with an open mind and willingness to be outside in nature with your students.
However, before stepping out in nature, make sure that you are aware of any allergies your students might have and have visited each site in advance to ensure it is deemed safe and appropriate. 

Print or send the student resource booklet: Joshua Yeldham Student Resource so that students can refer to the artworks by Joshua Yeldham throughout their creative journey. 

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ...investigate the meaning of patterns and mark-making
  • ...create patterns and apply meaning to their artwork.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ...articulate the difference between patterns and mark-making
  • ...discuss the different ways that specific artists use pattern work and create marks
  • ...create patterns that reflect the natural environment. 
- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: "I think we have higher, intelligent conversations with ourselves in nature. Nature opens up your creativity and higher ground." — Joshua Yeldham

Making patterns in nature: 

 1. Step outside in nature with your friends and notice your environment and which patterns are present all around you. 

In the template below, record and sketch the patterns that intrigue you. Notice the lines, grooves, waves, shapes that are present and try to recapture them onto paper.

Print or download the example template: Making patterns in nature Making patterns template below: 

Joshua Yeldham arts template for making patterns

Write about your favourite patterns and elaborate on how and where this pattern can be found in nature:

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