Monet painted many water-lily paintings, but this one of his Japanese bridge across the water-lily pond inspired us!
We had a family visiting us for the week and some of them joined us for this enjoyable art activity.
Here are the steps we took:
First we looked at Monet’s Water Lily Pond in our book Impressionists by Juy Jennings and looked closely at the enlarged pictures of his water lilies in Joy Richardson’s Looking at Pictures An Introduction to Art For Young People.
We all drew a frame around a large A3 page in landscape.
We looked at the horizontal line where the pond ended and the background began. We drew a horizontal line just under half way up the page. Above this and across the page we drew 3 curving lines in pencil for the bridge.
We used white oil pastels and, pressing heavily, drew over the bridge lines. (These white lines will resist the water paint wash.)
Now we used sponges and water-colour paint to paint the water and background trees. We sponged the water in various blues and greens in horizontal strokes, while we sponged the background vertically in various greens and yellows.
We used off-cut pieces of sponge with large, medium and small oval shapes to dab medium green craft paint (which is thicker and more opaque) for the lily leaves. I encouraged them to paint large shapes in clusters at the bottom of the pond, where the lily leaves were closer, and as the lily leaves appeared further away, we painted smaller leaves, until at the horizon line, the lily leaves were simple dots of green.
Now we used paint brushes. Monet painted a thin dark green shadow at the base of most his leaves and a highlight of light green across the top on many of his lily leaves.
With the lily leaves painted, we added details to the water. We dabbed short strokes of darker blues and purples to create ripples and shadows. We used white to make dry brush strokes for the lilies, or with 3 short strokes, we painted the flowers between the lily leaves.
We now returned to the bridge. We used white paint and painted over the oil pastel lines (which was slightly obscured by the paints) and then we added light blue for the shadows on the bridge.
We added details to the trees, adding dabs of darker greens, yellows and purples.
Finally, we added a few dots of pink to some of the lily flowers.
Our paintings were complete!
Here are the final works of art ~
This art lesson was really enjoyable. We took about an hour in total. The lesson was easy to break into steps and stages. I needed to remind everyone to look at the clusters of lily leaves. Also, the younger children painted the lilies on top of the lily leaves and they needed to look carefully to see that the lilies were also in clusters and painted in between the leaves. The dark shadows some people painted looked overwhelming at first, but with smaller, finer strokes of the same colour spread out in between the leaves, the shadows looked really good in the end.
My guest mommy thoroughly enjoyed having the time just to sit and paint. Her greatest joy was that she did not have to copy the original painting – just paint her interpretation of it. She was delighted to see how easy it seemed.