Lesson Plan: Saulo Moreno’s “Hell’s Fire”

This lesson plan was researched and written by Mackenzie Clayton, 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.


Saulo Moreno, Hell’s Fire, 1992, Wire, papier-mâché, acrylic paint, 17x18x14in. Originally from Tlapujahua, Michoacan, Mexico. Tyler Museum of Art, USA.

Culture: Mexico

Subject: Fine Art, Art History

Collection: Tyler Museum of Art’s Boeckman Collection

Grade: High School

Topics: Artistic Practices, Art History, Critical Thinking


Art Vocabulary

Activity Vocabulary:

Saulo Moreno:

  • Moreno was an artist born in Mexico City in 1933 and made a lot of his work in Tlalpujahua, Michoacan.[1]
  • He made his sculptures using a technique called the “The Alambroides Technique” which involves creating figures out of wire, covering the wire “skeletal” foundation in papier-mâché, and then once it is dry priming the figures in white and painting it.[2]
  • While his works include animals, he mainly focuses on themes of death through the use of skeletal figures including devils, angels, and humans. These figures are often showcased doing mundane everyday actions[3].

Folk Art:

  • Folk art is art created by regional people as an expression of culture or a preservation of their history. Many folk artists often create works using materials such as Wire, Paper-Mache, Clay, Stone, and Textiles. Folk Art can be made for a variety of reasons such as:[4]    
    • Reflect cultural or political issues
    • Celebrative or Ceremonious reasons
    • Used for utilitarian or decorative purpose
    • To communicate cultural identity and tradition

Papier-Mâché

  • A popular crafting technique by using layers of moistened strips or sheets of paper (usually moistened by a paste) onto a blank surface such as a balloon or wire. The adhesive acts as a binding agent, and as the paper dries it creates a hard shell, which at that paint can be painted or decorated. [5]

Wire:

  • Long, thin strand of flexible metal that can be bent, twisted, or shaped into any form one may wish. Wire can be made from metals such as aluminum, bronze, and copper[6]

Acrylic Paint:

  • Water-Based paints consisting of pigments that are distributed in an acrylic polymer suspension. Very versatile paint as it dries quickly and can be watered down or thickened up. [7]

Figures:

  • A figure often references a person or being in an artwork. Figures can be represented in a variety of styles such as realism or abstractionism.

Elements of Design[8]

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. 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 is the name of the color. Value involves the Hue’s light and darkness. Intensity involves the quality of brightness and purity.

Texture

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

Principles of Design

Rhythm

  • 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] “Saulo Moreno, Wire and Papier Mache Sculptures.” in Copal, Mexican Folk Art, https://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/saulo-moreno.html#.YlHNx8jMLrc, Accessed April 20, 2022.

[2]  Morgan Leigh, “Saulo Moreno Hernández – Adiós a Un Amigo.”, August 31, 2018, https://zocalofolkart.com/saulo-moreno-adios-a-un-amigo/, Accessed April 20, 2022.

[3] Morgan Leigh, “Saulo Moreno Hernández – Adiós a Un Amigo.”,

[4] “What Is Folk Art.”, International Folk Art Market, February 1, 2014, https://folkartmarket.org/what-is-folk-art/, Accessed April 20, 2022.

[5] Lauren Thomann, “Learn All about the Art of Papier Mâché.”, The Spruce Crafts, December 1, 2019, https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/what-is-papier-mache-4777182, Accessed April 20, 2022.

[6]“Wire sculpture art techniques”, Study.com, https://study.com/academy/lesson/wire-sculpture-art-techniques.html#:~:text=Wire%20is%20a%20very%20versatile,wire%20sculptures%20for%20outdoor%20spaces.  Accessed April 20, 2022.

[7] Acrylgiessen, “What Is Acrylic Paint? Complete Introduction for Acrylic Paints.” Acrylgiessen.com – Creative Magazine, September 21, 2021, https://acrylgiessen.com/en/what-is-acrylic-paint/, Accessed April 20, 2022.

[8]“Principles-and-Elements”,-Massachusetts-College-of-Art-and-Design, https://massart.edu/sites/default/files/Principles%20and%20Elements.pdf, Accessed April 20, 2022.


Bibliography: Resources for Vocabulary and Lesson Plan

Acrylgiessen. “What Is Acrylic Paint? Complete Introduction for Acrylic Paints.” acrylgiessen.com – Creative Magazine, September 21, 2021. Accessed April 20, 2022. https://acrylgiessen.com/en/what-is-acrylic-paint/

Leigh , Morgan. “Saulo Moreno Hernández – Adiós a Un Amigo.” zocalofolkart.com, August 31, 2018. https://zocalofolkart.com/saulo-moreno-adios-a-un-amigo/. Accessed April 9, 2022.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.302: Art Level I, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed April 20th 2022.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.303: Art Level II, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed April 20th 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 April 20th 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.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.305: Art Level IV, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed April 20th 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=305.

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

“Saulo Moreno, Wire and Papier Mache Sculptures.” Copal, Mexican Folk Art”. Accessed April 20, 2022. https://www.mexican-folk-art-guide.com/saulo-moreno.html#.YmB_EOjMJqO

“Wire Sculpture Art Techniques.”, Study.com, Accessed April 20, 2022. https://study.com/academy/lesson/wire-sculpture-art-techniques.html#:~:text=Wire%20is%20a%20very%20versatile,wire%20sculptures%20for%20outdoor%20spaces.

Thomann, Lauren. “Learn All about the Art of Papier Mâché.” The Spruce Crafts. The Spruce Crafts, December 1, 2019. Accessed April 20, 2022.  https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/what-is-papier-mache-4777182

“What Is Folk Art.” International Folk Art Market, February 1, 2014. Accessed April 20, 2022.


High School Lesson Plan


Goals:

High 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 observe and interpret the theme of death used in the artwork as it pertains the Mexican culture;
  • Students will identify how Moreno’s work Hell’s Fire handles the theme of death differently from the humorous nature of death that Mexican culture normally portrays;
  • Students will identify the balance and movement in the artwork Hell’s Fire;
  • Students will create their own wire/ papier-mâché sculpture displaying skeletons in a mundane scene (such as taking a bath, or dancing), similar to that of Moreno’s works.

Texas High School TEKS:

Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV


Level I:

  • §117.302.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • consider concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination for original artwork;
      • identify and understand the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • identify and understand the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • make judgments about the expressive properties such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor of artwork using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.302.c.2.A / B / C / D / E / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • use visual solutions to create original artwork by problem solving through direct observation, original sources, experiences, narrations, and imagination;
      • communicate a variety of applications for design solutions;
      • use an understanding of copyright and public domain to appropriate imagery constituting the main focal point of original artwork when working from images rather than direct observation or imagination;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • collaborate to create original works of art;
      • demonstrate effective use of art media and tools in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, and digital art and media.
  • §117.302.c.3.A / B / C / D
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance
      • compare and contrast historical and contemporary styles while identifying general themes and trends;
      • describe general characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures, which might also include personal identity and heritage;
      • collaborate on community-based art projects;
      • compare and contrast career and avocational opportunities in art.
  • §117.302.c.4.A / B / C / D
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a verbal or written 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;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artwork to provide evidence of learning;
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to form precise conclusions about formal qualities, historical and cultural contexts, intentions, and meanings.

Level II:

  • §117.303.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • use visual comparisons to illustrate concepts and ideas from direct observation, original sources, experiences, narration, and imagination for original artworks;
      • identify and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks;
      •  identify and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity in personal artworks;
      • explore suitability of art media and processes to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, appropriation, and metaphor relating to visual themes of artworks using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.303.c.2.A / B / C / D / E /  F
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      • apply design skills in creating practical applications, clarifying presentations, and examining consumer choices in order to make successful design decisions;
      • use an understanding of copyright and public domain to appropriate imagery constituting the main focal point of original artwork when working from images rather than direct observation or imagination;
      •  create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • collaborate to create original works of art;
      • select from a variety of art media and tools to communicate specific ideas in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, jewelry, mixed media, photography, and digital art and media.
  • §117.303.c.3.A / B / C / D
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • examine selected historical periods or styles of art to identify general themes and trends;
      • analyze specific characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures;
      • collaborate on community-based art projects;
      • examine and research career, entrepreneurial, and avocational opportunities in art.
  • §117.303.c.4.A / B / C / D / E
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork 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;
      • use responses to artwork critiques to make decisions about future directions in personal work;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artworks to provide evidence of learning;
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to form precise conclusions about formal qualities, historical and cultural contexts, intentions, and meanings.

Level III:

  • §117.304.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • analyze visual characteristics of sources to illustrate concepts, demonstrate flexibility in solving problems, create multiple solutions, and think imaginatively;
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • explore the suitability of art media and processes and select those appropriate to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor relating to visual themes to interpret the expressive qualities of artwork.
  • §117.304.c.2.A / B / C / D / E / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      •  solve visual problems and develop multiple solutions for designing ideas, creating practical applications, clarifying presentations, and evaluating consumer choices in order to make successful design decisions;
      • use an understanding of copyright and public domain to appropriate imagery constituting the main focal point of original artwork when working from images rather than direct observation or imagination;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • collaborate to create original works of art;
      • select from a variety of art media and tools to express intent in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, digital art and media, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
  • §117.304.c.3.A / B / C / D
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • distinguish the correlation between specific characteristics and influences of various cultures and contemporary artwork;
      • collaborate on community-based art projects;
      • examine, research, and develop a plan of action for relevant career, entrepreneurial, and avocational art opportunities within a global economy.
  • §117.304.c.4.A / B / C / D / E / F
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on evaluation of developmental progress, competency in problem solving, and a variety of visual ideas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork 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;
      • analyze personal artwork in order to create a written response such as an artist’s statement reflecting intent, inspiration, the elements of art and principles of design within the artwork, and measure of uniqueness;
      • use responses to artwork critiques to make decisions about future directions in personal work;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artwork to provide evidence of learning; 
      • select and analyze original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions to demonstrate innovation and provide examples of in-depth exploration of qualities such as aesthetics; formal, historical, and cultural contexts; intentions; and meanings.

Level IV:

  • §117.305.c.1.A / B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • consider concepts and themes for personal artwork that integrate an extensive range of visual observations, experiences, and imagination;
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • discriminate between art media and processes to express complex visual relationships such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor using extensive art vocabulary.
  • §117.305.c.2.A / B / C / D / E / F
    • Creative Expression:
      • produce an original body of artwork that integrates information from a variety of sources, including original sources, and demonstrates sustained self-directed investigations into specific themes such as a series or concentration of works;
      • evaluate and justify design ideas and concepts to create a body of personal artwork;
      • use an understanding of copyright and public domain to appropriate imagery constituting the main focal point of original artwork when working from images rather than direct observation or imagination;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
      • collaborate to create original works of art;
      • create artwork, singularly and in a series, by selecting from a variety of art materials and tools appropriate to course work in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber art, design, digital art and media, photography, jewelry, and mixed media.
  • §117.305.c.3.A / B / C / D
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research and report on selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • analyze and evaluate the influence of contemporary cultures on artwork;
      • collaborate on community-based art projects;
      • examine, research, and develop a plan of action for relevant career or entrepreneurial art opportunities within a global economy, justifying the choice.
  • §117.305.c.4.A / B / C / D / E / F
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • develop evaluative criteria to justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on a high level of creativity and expertise in one or more art areas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork 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;
      • analyze personal artwork in order to create a written response such as an artist’s statement reflecting intent, inspiration, the elements of art and principles of design within the artwork, and the measure of uniqueness;
      • use responses to artwork critiques to make decisions about future directions in personal work;
      • construct a physical or electronic portfolio by evaluating and analyzing personal original artwork to provide evidence of learning;
      • evaluate a wide range of artwork to form conclusions about formal qualities, aesthetics, historical and cultural contexts, intents, and meanings.

High School Art Activities

Questions for High School Students:

  1. Examine Saulo Moreno’s Hell’s Fire. Identify where each element of art is located in the folk art.
  2. Examine Saulo Moreno’s Hell’s Fire. Identify where each principle of art is located in the folk art.
  3. How does Moreno convey the theme of death in his work Hell’s Fire?
  4. Does Moreno’s work Hell’s Fire encompass traditional theme of death in Mexican culture?

Activity: High School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom and/or outdoor location
  • Materials: Paper and pencil, thin flexible wire, cutting pliers, newspaper, Elmer’s glue (liquid), water, a bowl, paintbrushes, acrylic paint
  • Subject: Art History, Folk Art, 3-D sculpture, Composition, Principles of Design, Theme of Death in Mexican Culture, Saulo Moreno
  • Texas TEKS: Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
  • Duration: Extended Project

Students will study the principles and elements of art in Saulo Moreno’s Hell’s Fire. The class will then plan out and create a personal wire papier-mâché sculpture of skeletal figures in the act of a mundane act, such as having dinner at a table or walking with a friend in the park. This is to encourage the students to take inspiration from Moreno’s work and to create their own original composition.

  1. Students will draw out a figure on a piece of paper of what their scene will look like. After the teacher has looked over and approved the students figure plan, the students will then start forming the wire foundation to create their scene. Using the wire, the class can bend, twist, and maneuver their wire in whatever way fits best to create the foundation for their papier-mâché sculptures. To ensure sturdiness of wire base, show students how to twist multiple strands of wire together to enhance foundational strength.
  2. After the wire foundation is established, each student should get a glue bowl and a stack of newspaper. Create the glue bowl by pouring two parts white glue in with one part water.
  3. Students will tear newspaper into strips to dip into the glue mixture. Dip newspaper into the glue and slide off excess by lightly sliding two fingers over the paper to push excess into the glue bowl.
  4.  Lay wet newspaper strips onto whatever part of the wire sculpture the student wishes to create first. To create a certain shape, bunch the newspaper into the shape needed and place it on the sculpture, then take another separate wet strip and lay that on top and smooth it out. Repeat the strip layering process at LEAST three times to ensure strength. Alternating between layers of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal strips will help foundational strength as well.
  5. Once done, leave the artwork on a covered surface to dry for at least 24 hours or until completely dry.
  6. Once all the works are dry, students are free to paint their works with acrylic paint. If a student is using a lighter color palette it may benefit to add a white primer base before using color.
  7. Once students are finished painting, let dry overnight once more.

Activity: High School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Art History, Folk Art, 3-D sculpture, Composition, Principles of Design, theme of Death in Mexican Culture, Saulo Moreno
  • Texas TEKS: Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
  • Duration: Single Day

Students will make an artist statement stating how they utilize the principles and elements of art to create their sculptures, as well as how Saulo Moreno’s work Hell’s Fire inspired their own style in their sculpture. Students will also elaborate on how their work utilizes the theme of death as it relates to the culture of Mexico. The students should refer to their lesson and or vocabulary in their statements. They should produce at least two paragraphs.


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