Friday, April 8, 2011

A Touch of Impressionism

Recently, Youth Art Month, which is in March, inspired me to add art history to our homeschool daily schedule. Our most recent lesson was on Impressionism. Impressionism is one of my favorite art styles to teach to kids. The bright colors and blurry images that are attributed to this style are easy and fun for kids to create. Gone is the stress of getting all the details of a face perfect. Fuzzy, unfocused images are perfect for Impressionist style paintings!

Impressionism is a style that began in France in the 19th century. It is a style in which the artist captures the image of an object as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. They paint the pictures with a lot of color and most of their pictures are outdoor scenes. Their pictures are very bright and vibrant. The artists like to capture their images without detail but with bold colors.

For my lesson, I chose to focus on the art of Monet. We looked at many of his images including the painting Jardin a Giverny.

Monet's - Jardin a Giverny

This particular Impressionism project for kids is a collage and painting combo. I found the idea at Edhelper is a subscription site, but as a homeschooling mom, I find myself using this site almost daily. If you are a subscriber, you can find the lesson under Major Art Movements (Art Styles) - Impressionism.

This lesson begins with 9" x 12" pieces of blue, purple, and green construction paper. Tear the top off the purple sheet in a jagged way as to look like the bumpy edge of mountains. Glue the purple sheet on top of the blue sheet, lining up the bottom straight edges. Next, tear the green sheet in half to create the edge of the ground. Glue the green sheet onto the purple, lining it up to the straight bottom edge.

Prepare a paint palatte (I use styrofoam plates) for the student with the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) and white. Secondary colors (purple, orange, and green) can be mixed from their primary colors. White can be added to make tints, or lighter versions of their colors.

Once the colors have been prepared, the kids can paint clouds in the sky, ridges along the montains, flowers, and grass. Remind them that the details are fuzzy and unfocused, but bold and bright.

The results are colorful and fun Impressionism inspired mixed-media creations!

My kids enjoyed this project. Even my son, who is typically a non-painter, participated in this one.

Spring is a terrific time to give Impressionism a try. The nice weather provides a great opportunity to create art "en plein air" or "in the open air" as many of the Impressionists did so frequently. Grab your art supplies and head outdoors! That would be creating art in true Impressionistic style!