Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This is a fun lesson for those times when you need a one-day activity - it's really fast and very successful, and packs in some art history to boot!  We call it free-painting, with no preliminary pencil work.  This post shows a third grade class.

Claude Monet, the Father of Impressionism, painted mostly outdoors, on site, to capture the light and color of the landscape at a particular time of day.  His painting "Impression: Sunrise" - a seascape of an early, foggy morning on the water - was the inspiration for this art movement.  Monet was one of the most prolific artists of his time, and we could do many, many lessons based on his work, but for this one we talk about the loose brushwork (no details), making strokes (not blending), the complementary color scheme, and the mood of the painting. 

Here's my easel where the students watch my demo 

We begin with some loose, painterly brushstrokes, with the colors of the sky reflecting in the water, below the horizon line.  We mix tints with white and students are encouraged to try mixing different hues from their cool color palette.

Next, we add some interesting elements like smokestacks on the horizon and floating boats.

Finally, a glowing orange sun really pops against all the blue hues.  Voila - Monet in a day! 


Comments are very appreciated - thanks for stopping by!