Alfred Sisley in Perspective

Alfred Sisley 071

Image via Wikipedia

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:

Art Sisley Outlines

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.

Sisley by Miss. K11

Sisley by Miss. L9

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.


Going Dotty over Paul Signac!

Paul Signac, Femmes au Puits, 1892, showing a ...

Image via Wikipedia

This month we study Paul Signac,

a Neo-Impressionist, famous for his pointillist technique.

I am so glad we have a computer because we could really zoom in on his paintings!  We examined the precise method he used of putting pure colours next to each other.  He did not mix his paints, but allowed our eyes to blend the coloured dots together.  We especially enjoyed viewing this in the painting Women at the Well at Colour Vision & Art as they have 3 increasing zoom views of this painting.

I read his biography and looked at some of his paintings at Renoir Fine Art Inc.  The children wrote a brief biography on their Famous Impressionist Artists Biography pages and made the little minibook for this artist from the lapbook download.

We chose a clear painting from my coffee table book Impressionist Painters by Guy Jennings.  Both girls loved the picture of Woman Doing Her Hair.  I had traced and enlarged this picture for them.  (I traced the picture of Lighthouse at Potrieux as an alternative.)  I wanted to save time with the drawing and get straight to painting.

Here is your pdf. download: Signac Outlines

We first painted flat areas of basic colours with water colours.

Then we used acrylic paints.

With small dots of the basic colours and the tip of small paintbrushes, we began the time-consuming task of dotting the colours next to each other to create different blends.  We all, at different periods in the process, felt unsure and unhappy with our dots, but we pressed on and completed the work and solved the difficulty.

Although we did not match his original painting as perfectly as we had hoped, we all sincerely congratulated Signac for painting large canvases and themes this way.

Art appreciation does not mean that you have to do the art lessons, but I find that it really helps the child identify more closely with the masterpiece and the artist.

I trust that my children recognise his works and his techniques as they study him during the rest of the month.

It is simple enough to read, look carefully, narrate or discuss great art!  I hope you are encouraged to add art appreciation to your weeks!  Pop over to my Art Ideas Pages for other art appreciation posts.

Join the Charlotte Mason Carnival on 3 May for all the Art Appreciation submissions.  Click here  if you wish to submit your own post to this carnival.