Turkeys and Thanksgiving from Different Perspectives
Turkeys and Thanksgiving from Different Perspectives
By Sharon Jeffus Copyright 2013
The picture below is called “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” by
Augusta Brownscombe. Where is the light coming from in the picture?
Can you see the use of atmospheric perspective by the artist? Do you notice
how things get lighter and faded in color in the background?
Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1850–1936) was an American painter noted
for her historical paintings of revolutionary and colonial America. In 1871,
she went to New York City and graduated from the Cooper Institute School
of Design for Women and the National Academy of Design. Her paintings
meant with immediate success. There were no cameras in revolutionary
and colonial America, and she pictured historical scenes such as the first
The picture below is called “Thanksgiving Grace” and was taken in 1942.
Do you think the photographer captured the flavor of an old fashioned
Norman Rockwell was also an American illustrator who pictured a time
period in American history. He did a series of pictures to raise money for
World War Two called “The Four Freedoms.”
Go to this website to see his picture of “Freedom From Want.”
The center of interest is a large turkey! How do you feel when you look at
Do you see the point of perspective in the picture above? In a one point
perspective picture, all verticals are vertical, all horizontals are horizontal
and all other lines meet at the vanishing point. Use the diagram below and
draw a room in one point perspective. When you are finished, draw a table
in the room. Go to this website to show you how to do it:
Below is a delightful poem that captures the spirit of Thanksgiving. Circle
all the words at the end of the sentences that rhyme. Do you think it might
be difficult to write a poem like this? Write a poem that is eight stanzas long
and where every two sentences rhyme.
The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)
It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.
It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.
I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.
Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly-It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.
Turkeys are lots of fun to draw. You can see them in the wild and they are
Below is Audubon’s “Wild Turkey.” The bird is in its natural habitat.
Audubon was a scientist and artist. He even named most of the plants in his
pictures. It is said that he would shoot the bird and then prop it up and if it
took up to 14 hours, he would try to paint it in one setting.
“The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang the
best” is one of my favorite quotes by Audubon. What do you that means?
Use the steps below and draw a turkey. Copy Audubon’s use of colors and
background. How many colors of green do you see? Do you see how the
feathers are lighter at the top where the light falls? They are darker at the
Finally we are going to look at some very old Thanksgiving cards. You can
create a comic drawing by exaggeration and stereotyping.
Below you see a turkey driving a car. Both turkeys are wearing hats. You
can draw a car following the steps below and put a turkey head in it. Notice
the background of the picture. Do you see the horizon line? The horizon line
in the place where the sky and land meet.
You can draw a simple car and put a turkey in the driver’s seat.
You can dress up a turkey and then write a limerick to go with your drawing.
A limerick is a short, humorous, often nonsense poem that is especially one
in five-lines with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA), which is often funny. It
is perfect to go on a greeting card such as the cards seen above.
Edward Lear was famous for writing limericks. Here is one of his best:
There was an Old Man in a Boat
by Edward Lear
There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, 'I'm afloat, I'm afloat!'
When they said, 'No! you ain't!'
He was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.
Can you help me finish this limerick about a turkey? I don’t like
the last line. Draw a turkey for a Thanksgiving card and dress
him up. Write a limerick to go with your card.
My Turkey Limerick
There once was a turkey named Basteeeee,
Mom thought that he might be quite tasty.
He tried waddlying away
On Thanksgiving Day -So we ate him quickly and hastily.