This month I introduced the children to Alfred Sisley, a famous Impressionist Artist.
We took a tour of his work on YouTube (with the famous French singer Edith Piaf singing in the background) and viewed more paintings in my Impressionist Painters book by Guy Jennings.
Sisley’s works are mostly landscapes and he often returned to the same place in different seasons to repaint these scenes.
The children compared pictures of similar scenes. They wrote these details in their minibook and wrote Alfred Sisley’s biography on their notebook pages. We put up our picture of Sisley and a small gallery strip on our wall chart.
Since Sisley’s paintings are so similar, we could quickly find some common elements in his style. Most his landscapes had excellent perspective.
To show this, I placed a plastic page protector over the painting and used a whiteboard pen to draw the vanishing point, the horizon line and the painting division into thirds.
This was fun! The children took turns outlining perspective on several paintings. I think they really got it!
Because we observed and discussed his paintings at length, I felt we didn’t have to paint or “do” any art, but my children wanted to paint the painting we studied.
I had prepared traced outlines for the children of Louveciennes, Road to Sevres, 1873 and Snow in Louveciennes, 1878 … for just in case … [smile]
Oops ~ I forgot ~ here’s a pdf of the outlines for you to download:
I didn’t even sit with them as they painted, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how naturally they both mixed their paints to copy the grey-blues of his sky and copied his brush strokes and colours of the street and trees. Their paintings were just for them.
Once again, I encourage you to choose a quiet day to do your art appreciation with your children.
You don’t even have to do all of this ~ just study 1 art work each week from one artist for about a month with the aim of noticing and appreciating that artist and his works.
Sonja Schafer of Simply Charlotte Mason demonstrates this in this video and describes how to do picture study here. I love how she says that when we have looked at the painting in detail, we “hang it on our mental art gallery“! She also tells the mom to “get out of the way” and let the child make the art work their own and “form their own relationship with the artist and his work”.
Once your children get used to this, you can add a little extra activity like adding a wall chart or biography page, and by and by, you’ll be doing more in-depth art appreciation lessons.