After listening to Debussy’s Clair de Lune the other week during music, I have been in the mood to do some Impressionist style painting with the boys.

First, we googled “Impressionism” and looked at some paintings by Monet and other French artists. The boys especially liked Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (which is really Post-Impressionism). We talked about how Impressionist artists used a lot of paint, and they used short brush strokes or dots of paint. They also used a variety of colors – so instead of painting a river one shade of blue, they created a much more interesting effect by using a whole array of colors.

Then we got out paints and brushes and got to work! We listened to Debussy while we worked for a little inspiration.

Here’s is Gresham’s Impressionism (he’s 5):

And Aidan’s (He’s 8, and I helped him sketch the picture with a pencil first):

We worked on choosing an appropriate sized brush (bigger is not always better!), painting with just the tip of the brush, and not using the brush as a shovel to scoop paint on to the paper! Aidan did a really good job, and was very proud of his finished picture. He enjoyed using strokes of different colors in the river and grass.

The other big skill that we worked on was painting different parts of the picture in the correct order. For example, the trees turn out much better if you paint the sky first. Then, you can paint the trees on top of the sky without them looking like they’re running into each other.

Maybe next time we’ll try painting on a canvas!


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  1. Deborah May 11, 2012

    I love how you described the order of your painting. I hadn't really thought about how the order would make a difference. We haven't done much with fine art this year. Perhaps we can dab in it a bit next week!


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