My daughter just went through an art segment at school, in which she learned about famous artists. Her class read a kid-friendly book about the artist, studied a painting by the artist, and then attempted to recreate the artist’s art. A couple of weeks thereafter, they went a local museum to see the art in person!
This is something that you can easily do at home. Whether you home-school, want a fun at-home summer camp activity, or want to enlighten a budding artiste, here are some examples you can do:
A good book to start with is When Pigasso met Mootisse, by Nina Laden. In the book, two artists become fierce rivals. However, when the two painters paint opposite sides of the fence that divides them, they unknowingly create a modern art masterpiece. Ultimately, they learn friendship is the true work of art. Plus, the book’s illustrations also introduce children to two of the world’s most extraordinary modern artists.
Once you’ve read the book, discuss the work of Piscasso, and maybe begin with his “blue period” and The Old Guitarist. Or perhaps study Picasso’s portrait series. Have a discussion about his evolution in drawing his self-portrait: Why did it change? How did he perceive himself? How do you perceive him? Yourself? Finally, encourage your child to create their own Picasso art!
Study Van Gogh
A good book to consider is Van Gogh and the Sunflowers, by Laurence Anholt. The book is about a young child who befriends a strange visitor in town. One day, he brings this man a gift of bright, beautiful sunflowers. The man is the artist Vincent van Gogh, and the sunflowers quickly become the subject of a magnificent painting. Ask questions like: Why do a lot of people like to paint or draw flowers? What makes flowers interesting to look at? Then grab your art and craft supplies, and pick some creative objects you can use to create dimensional art (and use a variety of methods), which can engage your child more than just painting alone.
Another book to read is The Magical Garden of Monet, by Laurence Anholt. In the book, the character Julie lives in Paris, but she longs to walk in a beautiful country garden. When her mother takes her on a visit to a rural town, Julie discovers a beautiful garden and befriends the man she believes is the gardener. In fact, he is the garden’s owner, the immortal artist Claude Monet. The author’s illustrations appear throughout the book and it also includes reproductions of works by the artist. Then discuss Monet’s iconic work Water Lilies, a series of approximately 250 oil paintings he created during the last thirty years of his life. Ask your child questions like: Why do you think he liked to draw his garden? Can you guess what he was feeling when he painted it? How do you feel when you look at it? Finally, encourage your child to create their own Water Lilies-inspired art. Get paper, paint, scissors, glue, and tissue paper to enable your child to explore their own inner artist.
Find other artists to explore from different countries, races, generations, and decades. Use the opportunity to explore different mediums, cultures, and discussions about what art is and means to a variety of people!
Need some art supplies? Check out The Toy Insider’s various arts and crafts reviews!