Continuing our study on Monet, we absolutely had to do something with water lilies. I’ve been brainstorming all summer and slowly the project came together in my head. Finally, I was ready, and on a warm summer day we tackled our watercolor water lily project.
First, we did a picture study from an online gallery. We talked about what the kids saw in the picture and what colors Monet used. We talked about our favorite parts of the picture, and then I showed them a photo of real water lilies. We talked about why Monet’s waterlilies looked blue and pink and purple instead of just green, and we discussed how light can change how we see colors.
Next, I had them go to the window and look out at our pond. What color was the water—not “what color is water supposed to be” but “what colors do you see?” Brown, green, blue, and white were the answers. We looked at Monet’s painting once more, at the colors that we saw in his “impression” of the water lilies. Then, we were ready for our project.
For the first step, I had them draw the lily pads and lily flowers in crayons. I encouraged them to layer their colors, as Monet had done, and to use many different colors. I also encouraged them to press hard with their crayons so that we got a good layer of wax on the paper. Once our lilies were ready, we headed outside for the actual painting.
Purple, blue, and green were the watercolors they could choose from. I helped get paint on the brushes and rinsed the brushes when a new color was needed; they did all the painting. And it was so cool to see our Monet paintings take shape.
It was a very imprecise project; those are the kind of projects that Middlest really flourishes at. Oldest struggles with imprecision. He kept wanting to painstakingly paint around each lily pad, even after I assured him that the paint wouldn’t cover them. Eventually, he relaxed a little and let the brush sweep a little more freely. Middlest swept her brushes across wildly, mixing and layering colors and having a fabulous time creating.
The end result? A fun summer memory and an age-appropriate fine art project that really brought Monet to light!