PROJECT: N 2021-1-BE02-KA220-ADU-000035111

4 Elements in Arts

Lesson Plans

Tone Laajne: Polja
Tone Laajne: Polja

Warming Up

Do you have any memories related to earth?
Did it feel soft or hard,
warm or damp or dry,
sandy like in deserts?
Did it smell earthy?

If you are an older learner, do you remember what Tara in “Gone With The Wind” symbolizes?
Love for the land?
What makes people go through catastrophes…

If you are a learner with visual impairments, what does the music “Tara’s Theme” tell you about the role of the land in “Gone With The Wind”? You can listen to it here: 

Story: FIelds

In the painting “Fields” one can see Lapajne’s individual thin sensitivity and attachment to his native land since most of his paintings are made from mud for wetlands of his native Slovenia.


Cultural Heritage

Earth is one of the four elements. Elements unite the most significant images of our cultures. Fertile soil is something from which things are born. Earth feels soft or hard. Earth and the underground are associated with roots and rest. Mother Earth symbolizes maternity, but also danger.

In legends soil and the underground are associated with dwarfs.

In cinema earth is often associated with the topic of apocalypse. The planet Earth is represented as place of overpopulation, over-industrialization, overproduction, pollution, atomic destruction. “Melancholia” is one of the 400 films dealing with the topic of our planet and apocalypse. It is a lyrical ode to the end of the world…

You can watch the trailer for it here.


Listen to the recording and answer the following questions.

Who was Tone Lapajne?

Was he a painter?

What kind of “painting” technique did he invent?

Read the story

In the painting “Fields” one can see Lapajne’s individual thin sensitivity and attachment to his native land since most of his paintings are made of mud for wetlands of his native Slovenia. 

Tone Lapajne was a versatile Slovenian artist. He started as a sculptor and ended up as a painter, but a very special sort of painter. He invented the “earth on canvas” technique. The wetlands around Ljubljana, with their many earth colours, were a great source of inspiration for him. 

This Slovenian sculptor and painter was born in 1933. Not only did he paint earth, but he utilized earth and mud from wetlands to create his pictures. He searched there for different colours of earth. (There are at least 50 colours.) To the earth he added some black or some olive paint. Because of his use of earth in his pictures, he became “a sort of painter”. He used to say: “The earth nurtures me both materially and spiritually! I pick up some earth… this matter which is a part of universe, and lay it on canvas. Cracks in the earth are scary,” he said, “but the rest…”

At the memorial exhibition Memory of Earth, 2016 in Ljubljana, Tone Lapajne was described as an artist who created statues, installations, and paintings. He used concrete, iron, wood, and finally his wetland earth for his artworks. He was in constant touch with nature and deeply interested in natural materials but “material does not create a work of art, artist does”. 

What did he say? His slogan came from the Bible. “We all come from dust (earth) and we all return to dust (earth).” “Expression is not only in material, the artist’s touch is important.”


Reading Comprehension



the zero conditional

Remind yourself of the zero conditional at BBC Learning English:

Grammar exercises related to the grammar used in the text:

We use conditional sentences to talk about situations and their consequences. These situations may be always true, possible, unlikely or impossible.

We use the zero conditional for facts and things that are always true and their consequences.

If it rains, the earth becomes wet and muddy.
I drink a cup of tea when I get home from work every day.
When we are in European capital cities, we always find some time to go to museums.

Additional activities

Would you like to become a soil artist?

Collect soil samples and study them and the colours they produce.

Watch this film for inspiration:

Extra resources for learners

Do some research into a topic based on the story

What is land art? Land art is made directly in the landscape. You have to visit the art on site. Sometimes land art uses natural materials and such artworks are exhibited in galleries.
Here is an example: Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970.

Robert Smithson is a well-known artist in the field of land art. After an early career as a painter, influenced by Expressionist painters, he modified his practice in 1964. He began to use combinations of materials to form three-dimensional sculptural compositions. He collected earth and rocks and installed them in the gallery as sculptures.


How true are these statements for you?
I think the story is engaging and interesting. *
I have learnt some new vocabulary and structures. *
I have learnt about its background and culture. *
The extra resources and additional activities have made me reflect on the meaning and the implications of the story. *
I have learnt about its cultural background and history. *
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