Picture This!

Picture This!

Activities and Adventures in Impressionism

Last week I wrote about teaching an easy Monet art class, and I held another one of these classes this week. It was so much fun, and the kids really got a kick out of the watercolor paint. One day I’ll have to get the watercolor tubes and some actual watercolor paper to let them experiment some more, if they choose to do so.

While I searched for Monet books at the library, I ran across this wonderful book called Art Explorers: Picture This! Activities and Adventures in Impressionism. Isn’t that the most inviting title of a book you’ve ever heard? The book cover explains that within it, you will find ways to discover the art of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro and Cassatt. The first few pages are about impressionism and explain how you can discuss the styles and meanings with your children.

Next, there are fun projects to do as a family—from mixing color wheels, learning about warm and cool colors and more. This part of the book is more focused on assessing what you see than making a lot of art, but you can obviously do as much or as little as you like on your own.

The book goes straight into art by Monet, depicting some of his famous paintings and asking several good questions about the art to help children—and adults!—learn how to evaluate it. If your child is not interested, I would move on to more hands-on activities; but if he or she would like to discuss art, you could spend a lot of time with these discussions. After the questions, there are several pages of cool art projects to do in the style of Monet, including examples of other children’s art pieces. My daughter especially liked these, which she thought were much like her own in some ways, some ways not.

Throughout the book, you get to experience pointillism, abstract art, seasonal collages, and much more. Different mediums, such as tissue paper, are also introduced, though I think painting is probably the best medium for exploring, well, painters. Get as creative as you like, of course; if your child wants to make 3-D windmills, go for it! But if your child is seriously into painting abstract art or impressionism in general, you can encourage it by supplying plenty of materials (the good ones, not the kiddie ones!) and texts like this one for them to browse through and learn more about their interests.