Girl With a Watering Can by Pierre Auguste Renoir
We have totally enjoyed our weekly picture study – it takes about 15 minutes a week at the most, and is so easy!
It is a very powerful tool in a Charlotte Mason Homeschool. I like that it gives me a chance to expose my children to the beauty of art – to the different historical periods; to things that enrich their minds and souls. I like that it is teaching them the value of observing and remembering details. I see that flowing over into their daily lives.
Charlotte Mason outlined this idea before the advent of television or the internet. Sometimes I like to allow them to experience art in different ways, using the Picture Study as a jumping point. Here are some of the things we have done as enrichment to a simple Picture Study (for different artists/times):
1. Try re-creating the masterpiece. During our Creative Art time, I have printed a copy of the painting we have studied and let the kids experiment with different types of art mediums – like chalk, oil pastels, and watercolors. After they try doing the picture like the artist, they are ready to create their own masterpieces. We have used play dough and clay to recreate sculptures. FUN!
2. Watch appropriate movies about the lives of the artists. We have some really fun ones called The Artists Specials that we love to watch over and over. There is one about Edgar Degas and his Little Dancer model. Mary Cassatt has a neat story about her friendship with Degas and how she became an Impressionist painter. There are always neat stories that make the history of the art important and personal. Look for those.
3. Order tons of free videos from the National Gallery of Art – keep it for 2 months, and return in the provided container. All we had to do was order it, watch it, and pay media mail to ship it back. There are thousands of items to choose from – science, art – even the time periods – can be chosen. We watched a video about Ancient Egyptian art with our history studies. VERY cool!
4. Go to an Art Museum and see the works in person. Oh my! We had read the story of Degas and the Little Dancer but never thought about actually seeing it. One day we decided to go to the St. Louis Art Museum instead of the St. Louis Zoo (both are free to the public and just across the street from each other!). Lo and behold – in the Impressionist Room is one of the 24 copies of Degas’ Little Dancer. You cannot imagine our excitement! They beg to go to the Art Museum, and have favorites there to visit when we go.
To see the first post in this series, click here.