Lesson Plan: Pedro Ortega Lozano’s “Altar Screen”

This lesson plan was researched and written by Ransom Jarvis, a Spring 2022 University of Texas at Tyler Exhibition Practicum Student. The lesson plan was edited by Rachel Anthony, the Tyler Museum of Art Education Manager.


If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback. The lesson plan can be downloaded in the link below.


Pedro Ortega Lozano. Altar Screen / Retablo. 1999, Tláhuac, D.F. Mexico. 37 x 37 x 1¼ in. Cardboard, foil, paper, string, wood, cloth, metallic lace. Tyler Museum of Art, Gift of Laura and Dan Boeckman. 2008.09.02.

Culture: Mexico

Subject: Fine Art, Folk Art, Art History

Collection: Tyler Museum of Art’s Boeckman Collection

Grades: Middle School

Topics: Artistic Practices, Art History, Critical Thinking, and International Art


Art Vocabulary

Activity Vocabulary:

Pedro Ortega Lozano

  • Pedro Ortega Lozano is a self taught artist who makes retablos out of layers of  hand-cut tissue paper, pictures of holy figures, and distinct Mexican imagery.[1]
  • He lives near Mexico City, and was inspired by the giant, elegant cathedrals within the city.[2]
  • He began his artistic career as a papel picado maker, and still incorporates this practice into his artwork.[3]

Papel Picado

  • Papel Picado is a hand-crafted paper art made of tissue paper that is hand-punched or chiseled with delicate, complex details and patterns.[4]
  • The paper was used to decorate ofrendas and altars, and the thin, airy paper was traditionally said to allow spirits to pass through it.[5]
  • The decorative paper was always associated with celebration, parties, or tradition of some sort.[6]
    • Even though it was just paper, it had been made into something special, and thus transformed into a meaningful, functional art.

Retablo

  • “A small oil painting, usually on tin, most often done by primitive, untrained artists from the provinces”[7]
  • The devotional pieces were produced from local materials, were rarely signed, and portrayed saints and biblical scenes in instantly recognizable fashions.[8]

Collage

  • A predominantly paper art form in which paper elements are cut out and pasted into a new arrangement to form a work of art[9]
  • Collages can contain elements beyond paper, such as photographs, lace, and fabric.[10]

Elements of Design[11]

Line

  • An element of art defined by a point moving in space. Line may be two-or three-dimensional, descriptive, implied, or abstract.

Shape:

  • An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width.

Form:

  • An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume; includes height, width AND depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing.

Space:

  • An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth achieved in a work of art.

Color:

  • An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity.
    • Hue: name of color
    • Value: hue’s lightness and darkness (a color’s value changes when white or black is added)
    • Intensity: quality of brightness and purity (high intensity= color is strong and bright; low intensity=color is faint and dull)

Texture:

  • An element of art that refers to the way things feel, or look as if they might feel if touched.

Principles of Design[12]

Rhythm/ Pattern

  • A principle of design that indicates movement, created by the careful placement of repeated elements in a work of art to cause a visual tempo or beat.

Movement:

  • A principle of design used to create the look and feeling of action and to guide the viewer’s eye throughout the work of art.

Balance:

  • A way of combining elements to add a feeling of equilibrium or stability to a work of art. Major types are symmetrical and asymmetrical.

Proportion:

  • A principle of design that refers to the relationship of certain elements to the whole and to each other.

Variety:

  • A principle of design concerned with diversity or contrast. Variety is achieved by using different shapes, sizes, and/or colors in a work of art.

Emphasis:

  • A way of combining elements to stress the differences between those elements.

Harmony:

  • A way of combining similar elements in an artwork to accent their similarities.

[1]  “Pedro Ortega Lozano: Cut-Paper Retablos Detail the Significance of Faith,” International Folk Art Market (IFAM), accessed April 1, 2022, ​​http://ifamstories.org/artists/pedro-ortega-lozano/

[2] Lozano, Pedro Ortega. “Pedro Ortega, maestro del papel picado.” Interview by Más México. Translated by Más Mexico. Mexicanos Chingones, Más México, October 22, 2019. Video, 3:24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3jpZDSGYZY

[3] Ibid.

[4]  “Papel Picado,” Folk Art Guide, Copal, accessed April 1, 2022, https://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/papel-picado.html#.Yk9eFppKhQK

[5]  Kristin G. Congdon, Catalina Delgado-Trunk, and Marva López, “Teaching about the ‘Ofrenda’ and Experiences on the Border,” Studies in Art Education 40, no. 4 (1999): 314.

[6]   “Papel Picado,” Folk Art Guide, Copal, accessed April 1, 2022, https://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/papel-picado.html#.Yk9eFppKhQK

[7]  Gloria Fraser Giffords, Mexican Folk Retablos, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1992,) 1-2.

[8]  Giffords, Mexican Folk Retablos, 1, 5-6.

[9] “Collage,” Tate, Art Terms, accessed 13 April 2022, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/c/collage 

[10] Ibid.

[11] “Principles and Elements,” Massachusetts College of Art and Design, accessed 13 April 2022, massart.edu/sites/default/files/Principles%20and%20Elements.pdf

[12] Ibid.


Bibliography: Resources for Vocabulary and Lesson Plan

Congdon, Kristin G., Catalina Delgado-Trunk, and Marva López. “Teaching about the ‘Ofrenda’ and Experiences on the Border.” Studies in Art Education 40, no. 4 (1999): 312–29. https://doi.org/10.2307/1320552.

Folk Art Guide. “Papel Picado.” Copal. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/papel-picado.html#.Yk9eFppKhQK

Giffords, Gloria Fraser. Mexican Folk Retablos. New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

International Folk Art Market (IFAM). “Pedro Ortega Lozano: Cut-Paper Retablos Detail the Significance of Faith.” IFAM Stories. Accessed April 1, 2022. ​​http://ifamstories.org/artists/pedro-ortega-lozano/ 

Lozano, Pedro Ortega. “Pedro Ortega, maestro del papel picado.” Interview by Más México. Translated by Más Mexico. Mexicanos Chingones, Más México, October 22, 2019. Video, 3:24. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3jpZDSGYZY

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.202: Art, Middle School 1, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=202.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.203: Art, Middle School 2, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=203.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.204: Art, Middle School 3, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=204.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.302: Art, Level I, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=302.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.303: Art, Level II, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=303.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.304: Art, Level III, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed January 5, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=304.

 “Principles and Elements.” Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Accessed 13 April 2022. massart.edu/sites/default/files/Principles%20and%20Elements.pdf

Tate. “Collage.” Art Terms. Accessed 13 April 2022, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/c/collage


Middle School Lesson Plans

Goals:

Middle School Students of all Levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Students will describe what collage is in artwork;
  • Students will identify and describe symmetry and rhythm within artwork;
  • Students will identify and describe movement and balance within artwork;
  • Students will identify the ways celebration is displayed in Pedro Ortega Lozano’s artwork;
  • Students will create a piece of collage art similar to a retablo.

Texas Middle School TEKS:

Art 1, Art 2, Art 3


Art 1:

  • §117.202.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • understand and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
      • understand and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
      • discuss the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.202.c.1.A / B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks based on direct observations, original sources, personal experiences, and the community;
      • apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
      • produce artworks, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media, using a variety of materials.
  •  §117.202.c.3.  B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify  examples  of  art  that  convey  universal  themes  such  as  beliefs, cultural  narrative,  life  cycles,  the  passage  of  time,  identity,  conflict,  and cooperation;
      • explain  the  relationships  that  exist  between  societies  and  their  art  and architecture;
  • §117.202.c.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • create written or oral responses to artwork using appropriate art vocabulary;
      • analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Art 2:

  • §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate ideas from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • understand and apply the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A / B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks that express a variety of ideas based on direct observations, original sources, and personal experiences, including memory, identity, imagination, and the community;
      • apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
      • apply technical skills effectively using a variety of materials to produce artworks, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media;
  • §117.203.b.3.A / B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • analyze ways that global, cultural, historical, and political issues influence artworks;
      • analyze selected artworks to determine contemporary relevance in relationship  to  universal  themes  such  as  belief,  cultural  narrative,  life cycles, the passage of time, identity, conflict, and cooperation;
      • compare and contrast relationships that exist between a society’s art and its music, literature, and architecture;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / B / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written or oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Art 3:

  • §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experience, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
      • evaluate the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • evaluate the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • compare and contrast the expressive properties of artworks, including appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol, using vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A / B / C
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks expressing themes found through direct observation; original sources; personal experiences, including memory, identity, and imagination; and the community;
      • apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
      • create artworks by selecting appropriate art materials, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media;
  • §117.203.b.3.A / B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • analyze ways in which global, contemporary, historical, and political issues have influenced art;
      • environmental  themes  such  as  environment/nature,  conflict  and  power, relationships to others, and reality/fantasy;
      • evaluate  the  relationships  that  exist  among  a  society’s  art,  music,  theatre, and dance;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written and oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • analyze original artworks and portfolios using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;

Middle School Art Activities

Questions for Middle School Students:

  1. Examine Pedro Ortega Lozano’s Altar Screen. Identify where each element of art is located in the art.
  2. Examine Pedro Ortega Lozano’s Altar Screen. Identify where each principle of art is located in the art.
  3. How does Pedro Ortega Lozano convey the theme of celebration in his work?
  4. How does the Altar Screen combine elements of both papel picado and retablos?
  5. Does the ‘low’ quality of materials used by Pedro Ortega Lozano detract from the artistry of his work?
    • (In other words, is the artwork any less good because it was made from simple materials?)

Activity: Middle School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Drawing paper, cardboard, construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, gold foil, tape, lace.
  • Subject: Art History, Folk Art, Collage, 2D Composition, Shapes, Elements and Principles of Design
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Single Day Project

Students will study Pedro Ortega Lozano’s Altar Screen. The class will create a collage artwork that focuses on the idea of retablos and how they convey the theme of celebration. Students should observe particularly the harmony and balance within Altar Screen, and try to emulate this in their own composition. First, the students will each receive a piece of cardboard which they will cut into the initial shape of their retablo-style collage. Rectangles are fine, as they are traditional, but more ornate or organic shapes can be used. Next, they will draw, or cut out, a subject that the retablo will be celebrating. The students should surround the cut-out drawing of this subject with lace, similarly to the use of papel picado in the Altar Screen. They should pick out, or make, other elements to serve as decoration for the retablo (similar to Lozano’s use of angels, flowers, suns, moons, and patterns).

Once the subjects and decorations have been cut out, and the cardboard has been shaped to form the base of the retablo, the students may begin combining the elements. They should use glue and tape to secure the subjects in a desired arrangement on the cardboard. The students should once again pay attention to balance, harmony, and emphasis when designating where each subject will be placed. Once they have finished, they should use gold foil to wrap all the negative space in the retablo, and decorating this foil however seems fit.


Activity: Middle School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Art History, Folk Art, Collage, 2D Composition, Shapes, Elements and Principles of Design
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Single Day Project

Students will make an artist statement that explains how they used emphasis, balance, and harmony in the artwork. They must also discuss the way their work resembles a retablo. The work should reflect themes of celebration similar to Pedro Ortega Lozano’s pictorial scenes in his Altar Screen. The students should refer to the vocabulary when they discuss their style of collage. They should produce at least 2 paragraphs.


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