Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Impressionism

Last week, which was the "next week" of my previous post, we surveyed a few more Impressionist artists.  (In keeping with my own personal blog rules, I do not apologize for not getting the actual post out last week.)

We took a quick look at work by Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassat, Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugin and Vincent Van Gogh.  I continue to be surprised at how closely many of these artists worked together.  The often shared studio space and models (as Gaugin and Van Gogh, who sometimes had a hard time getting along as roommates in Van Gogh's yellow house), set up easels next to each other to paint the same scenes en plein air, and painted each other's portraits (take a look here, here, here, here, here, here and here).  Hmmmm...can you tell that I am fascinated by the fact that they painted each others' portraits?

We created our own Starry Nights.  Here is my whiteboard sketch to help the children with shapes and placements. 

I have spent all year trying to get the children to use long smooth strokes when drawing and painting.  Now I am trying to get them to use choppy little strokes and no blending.  We used oil pastels on regular paper for this project.

Finishing: I did a quick watercolor wash to darken the pictures a bit. I did the wash for them since we were using regular paper, and the watercolor bleeds through so quickly.

Still to come: Pointellism!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


 I love Homeschool Freebie of the Day.  They have given us enough free downloadable resources, links, videos, radio shows, etc, etc, etc., to crash my computer.  A few weeks ago, their free resource of the day was a link introducing me to Practical Pages by offering Nadine's Famous Impressionists Artists Pages.  She is one prolifically creative and generous homeschool mom.  I'll be exploring her 'back issues' for awhile.  Earthgirl is coloring her paper dolls from Ancient Rome today.

The Impressionists resource looked pretty good to me, so I suggested to my fellow mini-co-op moms, "I'm thinking about doing Impressionists in April,"  to which they replied, "Oooo...Impressionists."  (Aside to the mini-co-op moms:  Shall we never invent a better name than "Mini-co-op"? I got nuthin'.)

We will be hitting the Impressionists for 3 weeks, building  lapbooks using PP's minibooks, and doing a little impressionism of our own. Yesterday I introduced the history of the Impressionists as a bold modern group of painters frustrated by the judgments of the Salon in Paris. The children learned about painting en plein air (outdoors in whatever light was available), and how radical the concept was of painting contemporary subjects rather than models dressed up in Greek and Roman garb. I showed them pictures in library books, focusing on Monet, Sisely, and Cezanne.

[I learned that none of the Mini-co-op moms know French to help me with pronunciation. Most of what I know of pronunciation of French words comes from "The Aristocats," "Veggie Tales," and "Madeline."  Mas oui! Naturalment!]

We painted our own version of Monet's Impression: Sunrise, the painting that gave name to the movement.  The term, "Impressionism," borrowed from the painting title, was meant as a slur by the newspaper that covered their first art show.

Though these photos show what looks like a controlled, quiet class, I always feel like we are wild and crazy when we are painting.  I always end up wearing more paint than the children.  And this is just 7 children - how do art teachers with a whole classroom keep up with all those students? I'm surprised to see the picture below looks pretty normal.  In reality it was a puddle of paint!  Ack!

I love the way I can give exactly the same instructions to the all seven children, yet the pictures all differ.

Pretty impressionistic for a second grader, don't you think? Next week, more impressionism!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Generous Artists and Art Teachers

Anyone who takes even a quick look at this chronicle of our Homeschool art adventures will realize that I am a big fan of the generous artists and art teachers who share their work, their techniques, their lesson plans, and their students' work on websites.  It would be so much more difficult to do what I do without accessing their creativity. 

Sure, I can find books at the library, but this morning during a bout of insomnia, 3:30 a.m. found me gathering information online for our next few lessons.  My library, wonderful though it is, was not open at 3:30, they don't allow me to sit inside with my mug of coffee, and I probably would hesitate to venture there in my pajamas.

On my sidebar, I have a few of those sites listed.  I could add many more - I have some maybe a dozen more listed in my favorites under "HOMESCHOOL:Art."  But I don't want the sidebar to go on and on, flowing all the way down off the screen and onto the floor.  

This morning I am adding a new site to my sidebar.  Kids Artists is new to me.  This art teacher blogs in 2 languages.  I am enjoying these lessons from the Netherlands.  Go check it out!