1st Grade learned about the impressionist art movement and artist Claude Monet. They learned how to paint like Monet, with short little brushstrokes. We noticed that impressionist use more than one color to paint for each area of their painting. Water isn’t just blue, it has lots of colors in it!
I started the lesson by reading my favorite book to read to first graders:
The Magical Garden of Claude Monet (Anholt’s Artists Books for Children)
by Laurence Anholt
We looked a how Monet used more than just blue to paint water and more than just green to paint the grass and leaves. I also showed them a slideshow of Monet’s work, the kids enjoyed talking about his paintings.
We created the backgrounds with tempera paint. I gave the students blue, purple and white for the water plus green and yellow for the grass. I showed the kids the technique of double loading the brush, dipping you brush into two colors and making short little brushstrokes like an impressionist painter. They loved how the colors mixed together right on the paper.
The next class I did a directed line drawing to draw the frogs with oil pastel which we then cut out and glued down on their dry paintings. We were supposed to go back and add Monet’s Japanese bridge with oil pastels that day too but with some classes we forgot.
I also had an exciting adventure teaching this lesson to one of my first grade classes. Right in the middle of the story the electricity went off! It stayed off for 4 hours so we had art in the dark all morning. I had half the class sitting on the floor by the windows so we could see what we were doing. It was very stormy so even the windows didn’t provide much light. We pretended that we were camping and we made it work. It was a very interesting day.