Pastel Landscapes

This week we decided to do a pastel landscape.  Using my old, old art book Painting the Four Seasons by Carl Stricker that I bought at a 2nd bookshop years ago, we selected 2 landscapes.

Miss. T18 and I did this lovely rural farm scene:

Art landscapes Art landscapes1

And Miss.K14 chose the stormy, rainy landscape.Art landscapes2

We all loved using our chalk pastels.  Despite “loosing” colour or details now and then as we worked, and having to layer the colours back over again, we all thoroughly enjoyed our art lesson …

All except Miss.L11 who wanted to paint her landscape and couldn’t mix the ‘right’ colours and disliked her painting … leaving the room upset when she was finished.  I love her painting!

Art landscapes3

I realized that 2 factors are contributing to her unhappiness:

  • She’s finding the reality and accuracy she wants to create versus her artistic ability frustrating which is quite common in children between 9 and 11 years old …
  • I am too involved with everyone else and my own work to help her before her frustration kicks in.
  • Note to self: Select an “easier” topic and a manageable medium and focus on helping and being available to her.

Simple tutorials are so easy to follow.  If you find some on the internet I suggest that you print out nice clear prints and hang them up or prop the images up on an easel nearby to copy.  The final picture is very important, so make a larger colour copy.  Also, most paint tutorials can easily be done with chalk pastels, so select one with broad features rather than a picture with intricate details.

Go ahead and try a pastel landscape!


Pastel Art Appreciation of John Singer Sargent

Chalk pastel art is very popular in our home!

My children begged me for another chalk pastel lesson for our weekly art appreciation …


After viewing several of John Singer Sargent’s paintings, we voted and then, because we couldn’t settle on one, we chose to do 2 paintings ~

Miss.T18 and Miss.K14 focused on “Rosina” 


while Miss.L11 and I selected A Gust of Wind

The Gust of Wind

Miss.K used her new birthday gift; her nifty aluminium, collapsible easel to prop up the printouts.

(My hubby and I agreed to buy our 14-year-old some quality birthday gifts to encourage her natural creativity!  Along with the easel which comes in a lovely carry bag,  she  received some canvasses, acrylic paints and a lovely set of drawing pencils.

I purchased some very basic leather tools for her ~ a bag of mixed leather pieces, some needles, waxed thread, special leather pen and eraser, eyelets and studs and an assortment of brads and buckles.)

But, back to Sargent’s art appreciation lessons …

Here are the “Rosina” chalk pastel paintings ~

Art John Singer Sargent3

Art John Singer Sargent2

And here are our “A Gust of Wind” chalk pastel paintings.

Art John Singer Sargent1

This week, my youngest did not once worry or fret about her art work.

Art John Singer Sargent

Here are free downloads ~

The reason my older daughters love chalk pastels is that they can cover ‘mistakes’ with extra layers.  They even use an eraser and rub out small sections!  Because it has a ‘loose’ feel, they do not feel that they have to get the details perfect, but I am stunned by the clarity and detail they achieve.

Chalk pastels are a simple medium which produce  gorgeous effects.  I love the color combinations, the smudged effect when you rub an area, the quick way you can cover a whole page with the side of the chalk .

We use all three types ~ the basic chalk pieces, really good quality wrapped chalk pieces and my extra-special set of chalk pencils.  We have discovered that one cannot really use the chalk pencils over other chalked areas, so now we save the area where we want to use the pencils for the last phase, when we ‘pull out’ the details.

We each use a section of toilet paper to keep our hands fairly clean, and we quickly wipe the dust off  the plastic tablecloth with a damp cloth.

I really encourage you to try chalk pastels for some of the less detailed, precise art works you and your children may study!


Albert Bierstadt landscapes in Chalk Pastels

This month’s famous artist in our homeschool is Albert Bierstadt.

I have always loved the misty luminance of his landscapes.

My older daughters both wanted to do art with Miss.L11.  After reading a brief biography, we looked at some examples of his works and sat chatting about his paintings.  Each of us connected with a  different painting, so rather than focus on just one piece for the day, I let each choose a painting.

Using our chalk pastels, we covered the backgrounds, filled in dark area and then worked to add focus and detail.  All the while our Famous Composer ~ Chopin’s music quietly filled the room.

My youngest two chose The Golden Gate.

Miss.K14 said that it reminded her of a scene from The Dawn Treader by CS Lewis.

Art Albert Bierstadt2

My youngest preferred to paint her picture. Art Albert Bierstadt3

She is in a “realism” stage and becomes discouraged when her art doesn’t ‘look right’.  She walked away when her smudgy painting was done.  I gently encouraged her to try some chalk pencil details once her painting was dry.  Amazingly, she found that she could pull out the details, smudge white chalk pencil to create the glow the Bierstadt masters in his work, and she and I were very happy with her painting when it was done.

Miss.T18 and I chose The Giant Redwoods Trees of California.  She and I loved the faded mystical quality of the distant trees.

While you can’t see the difference, Miss.T18′s picture is a ‘small’ A4 page, while the rest of us worked on nice large A3 pages. Art Albert Bierstadt1

Bierstadt’s paintings are very big, so it seemed right to paint ours large too! This is my pastel painting~

Art Albert Bierstadt

Here are all our paintings on our school room gallery door ~



Bruegel’s “Hay Harvest”

This is our 2nd week art appreciation of our Famous Artist Bruegel the Elder and we looked at ~

Hay Harvest

The Hay Harvest

We viewed wonderful color plates in the “Bruegel” art book by the Colour Library of Art borrowed from our local library.

They also display several enlarged selections from the main painting.  We enjoyed looking back at the original to find where these smaller focused areas appeared.

Some of these selections made wonderful art works of their own.

My youngest daughter especially liked the focused area of the three peasant women in the  “Hay Harvest” which she traced by herself, and which I then enlarged on my printer.

Bruegel's Hay Harvest

Miss.L11 used pastels for her first attempt at the art work and she was unhappy with the results.

She then tried her second picture with water-color paints and was very satisfied!

Bruegel 002

As I’ve shared before, an art appreciation lesson does not require any actual art activity.  Charlotte Mason encouraged detailed observation.

We often enjoy simple oral narrations, but many of our art activities are  spontaneous, as with this painting.

I love the child-led interest.

And why not? We are building an amazingly rich mental art gallery!


Bruegel Wedding Feast

We have started our next famous artist ~

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Because so many of his works feature peasants in everyday life, he was known as “Peasant Bruegel”.

My daughter chose this painting,The Wedding Feast, for our first art appreciation lesson.

The Peasant Wedding, a 1567 or 1568 painting b...

The Peasant Wedding, a 1567 or 1568 painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, with two men playing pijpzaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We both looked at all the details in his painting. He puts so much into his works that you can almost play “I spy” to try find the many characters!

I traced a fairly detailed outline of the painting.Bruegel Wedding Feast

Miss.L11 painted it with watercolors, carefully copying the colors. 2013-06-17 21.37.09

It took several short sessions before had she completed the entire painting, but it was a quiet and enjoyable activity.20130617_213723

Why don’t you give this art work a try?

  1. Find the painting online  ~
  2. Download the outline ~ Bruegel Wedding Feast
  3. Color or paint the picture if you wish.
  4. Have fun!