As a girl I loved looking at Degas’ work. I was enamored by the beautiful ballerinas in voluminous tutus practicing their movements . It seemed effortlessly feminine. Though most of his work focuses on the female form, he also did paintings of men and children in everyday life. The overarching theme in his work is the human figure, and he was able to expertly capture the movement of the body.
Because I want to teach my students about Degas’ mastery of the human figure, I am straying completely from the Discovering Great Artists lessons. Instead, this lesson will teach VERY basic figure drawing ideas. Don’t worry, it’s simple! Continue Reading →
This week we move into Impressionism. When we think of Impressionism we think of Claude Monet. And when we think of Claude Monet we think of water lilies, landscapes, and dabbled paint. This is exactly what we want our students to think of as well. Hopefully by the time this project is done, they will have a permanent impression of Monet’s work and will be able to recall the imagery and technique of his style.
Not only will they see his style, but they will know what it feels like to paint as he did… with one exception. Monet usually painted outdoors. Though the Discovering Great Artists lesson has students painting what they see outside, this is hard to do during winter. Here it is cold and snowy, with very little color outside. To compensate for this, my lesson has students copy parts of Monet’s work, then do a landscape from their own head using his dabbing technique. Continue Reading →
It’s time to let our imaginations run wild! Though Thomas Gainsborough’s landscapes might appear simply realistic to us, they have a dream-like, dramatic quality to them. It is said that he even created them at home using pebbles, twigs, and even broccoli to create mini dioramas. The images were very much from inside his own head.
For this project, the students will create their own imaginary scene. Just like Gainsborough’s, it will be realistic yet wondrous. Waterfalls? Rainbows? Babbling brooks with ferns and foliage? Erupting volcanoes? The students get to be as creative and unrestrained as they choose. Continue Reading →
I love this project. It combines drawing with science and math. It teaches students to carefully study what they see. It allows us to emphasize size and proportion in drawing. Kids will always love to doodle and draw imaginative ideas, and teaching traditional drawing techniques in no way inhibits this. In fact, teaching realistic drawing will give them the skills to better draw what’s in their head.
This botanical drawing is based off the work of Carl Linnaeus, famous artist, botanist, physician, and zoologist. He carefully studied plants and recorded his findings through illustrations. They are beautiful examples of science and art. Continue Reading →
Oh, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Portrait drawing can be the most nerve-wracking art assignment. The features always look a bit wonky, it never looks like the person you are trying to draw, and it can be embarrassing to have to show it off to other kids in class. Though portrait drawing is a challenge, following a simple mathematical formula can greatly improve the outcome.
In this lesson, students will learn the basic structure of all human faces. Using this guideline, they will draw the portrait of a parent in class. The focus is learning the structure, not creating a perfect likeness of the subject.
The famous artist tied in with this lesson is Rembrandt van Rijn. A famous Dutch painter of the 1600s, he painted landscapes, biblical scenes, portraits and self-portraits. To begin the lesson, give an introduction to Rembrandt and his work, then dive into drawing your own portrait. Continue Reading →
Today we will create our own drawing inspired by Medieval art history. As we learn about historical figures of the Middle Ages in class, seeing art from this time gives us a fuller understanding of the period.
Illuminated manuscripts are just one many art forms from the Middle Ages. They were created by monks, written and colored entirely by hand, and took years to complete. The drawings are fanciful and beautiful. Monks created the manuscripts on vellum (animal skin), painted them with pigments, and embellished them with silver and gold.
For today’s project you will need the following:
8.5 x 11 paper
paints or colored pencils
optional: gold or silver marker or paint
First, let’s look at some illuminated letters. On this Pinterest page you will find a variety of examples. Some are from the Medieval Period and some are modern.
I’ve greatly enjoyed learning about astronomy during Cycle 2. As I say almost every week, I am re-gaining my education by being a part of CC! As an nod to Cycle 2’s outer space facts (and my six-year-old son’s new-found love of drawing stars) this art project combines celestial bodies with one-point perspective.
Perspective drawing creates depth, as if some things are far away and some are near. Today’s drawing is of “shooting stars”. The stars will appear close to us, as if shooting forward from deep in space.
Autumn is here, and I am already mulching and raking leaves like crazy. Though this project won’t solve the entire problem, it will get your kids to pick up three our four leaves from your yard.
“Abstract Fall Leaves” combines the idea of abstract art from week 4 with the warm/cool color scheme. For this project, kids will design a balanced composition and begin to understand the color wheel. Let’s take a look:
What is “Mealtime Monets”? It is the thing that will save your sanity!!! Ok, I like to exaggerate, but still… it is a tool that will give you free time while your children practice real art skills that relate to Classical Conversations or drawing in general. I’m calling it “Mealtime Monets” because dinner prep is the time I find I need a bit of space, yet my children (and dog) like to be stealthily right behind me every time I walk to the sink so that I trip over them as I back up. Or they ask to help make dinner as I’m in a whirlwind panic of pulling the baked chicken out of the oven as I remember that I forgot to make the rice (again). I do love having my children cook with me, and we do this often, but there are some nights that I’d like to have them occupied while I’m working on it. And when I realize I’ve screamed “Just go play OUTSIDE!” four times, I need to find an alternative for them to do.
Mealtime Monets are helpful because your kids can sit at the kitchen table and work on the projects while you’re near them in the kitchen. They like this, of course. Even if you don’t use the projects near dinner time, they are a good way of keeping kids occupied and engaged in something meaningful while you do something else (like work on math with another kid. Or have some time by yourself). They use simple materials and little prep time. Perfect.
I had the chance to visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa in person many years ago. What I thought would be a huge and impressive painting was actually a small and somewhat dull portrait. What’s all the fuss with the Mona Lisa? There have been many theories about the woman’s expression, about what her real name is, and even about the portrait being of Da Vinci himself painted as a female. Though I am not a die-hard fan of the work, it is still an interesting piece of history and a quintessential piece of Renaissance art. This week we will re-create the Mona Lisa using a grid-drawing technique. This will tie in our history sentence and expose students to another way to accurately draw what we see.
Below you will find three lesson plans: one for ages 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11. The lesson plan PDF includes tutor directions, line drawing of the Mona Lisa, and gridded paper. Continue Reading →