For our Monet study this summer, I’m morphing two different resources: a free artist study download and the library book Monet and the Impressionists for kids. I loved this book for our Renoir study and could hardly wait to check it out for our Monet study, not just for the great biographical and art era information but also for the fun project ideas.
Though the text is a little above my kids’ attention spans, I love looking through the pictures with them and reading snippets from the longer story. Key facts and events about the artist, anecdotes that I think they will connect with and enjoy, as well as important art information is what I’m looking for. I also love that for each artist there is a box of “what to look for” that shares characteristics of the artist’s paintings. How do you spot a Monet? Look for light, water, gardens and waterlilies, and his wife and son who often show up in his paintings.
One of the project ideas suggested in this book was to choose a magazine picture of a landscape and paint over the picture, emphasizing the different shades of color more than the objects within the picture itself. It sounded like the perfect project for the kiddos, so I searched my old Better Homes and Gardens issues for just the right picture and then made a color copy so that both kids would have the same picture (for my own sanity).
Next, the kids donned their plastic garbage bag art aprons (I tear holes for the head and arms), and I prepared their paint palettes. We used some acrylic paints and some poster paints—the ones I had on hand (which meant that the flowers were not colored the exact shade of the photo). I did have to mix a few paints to get the right shades of green and yellow, and had I not run out of white paint, we probably could have matched the flower colors more closely.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the kids did with the project, including Middlest. We talked through what colors to use where and used one color at a time before moving to the next color. I also had to instruct them to dab the paint onto the picture rather than sweep their brushes back and forth.
The results were impressive Monet-style art pieces!