Waterlilies and Bridges: A Monet Picture Study

For the first term of our 2014-2015 school year, we studied the art of Claude Monet. He was incredibly talented – not only did he paint, he designed his own garden which has been immortalized in his paintings and can still be visited today. I guess, though, being a painter fascinated with light and water and all the movement to be found therein, having your own garden would be both convenient and satisfying.

monet's water lilies

For our pictures to study, we used the Monet Picture Study Portfolio from Simply Charlotte Mason.  These come with an appropriate biography and 8 nice prints to view and enjoy. We typically put it in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ frame and set it on an easel in the school room to see daily as we are working in there.

Before we start the study, I sit down at the computer and find the pictures from the portfolio so that I can make small prints for each student to put in his own book. Charlotte Mason recommended that each child be given their own small print of each picture studied so as to make it easier for them to see and remember them. It helps to keep something beautiful in their minds and to feel it in their souls. We just use a photo book from Walmart and I print the pictures to fit the book. You can only legally do this if your artist’s works are in the public domain.

I added a couple of books to our study as they helped to bring the stories and paintings alive in the girls’ minds. This is not really necessary if you are using the portfolio biography, but I already had the books, so I read them.

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt (LOVE this series!)

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Cristina Bjork and Lena Anderson

Claude Monet: Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists by Mike Venezia

Claude’s Impressions by The Metropolitan Museum of Art (I like their books a lot!)

I have an Impressionist coloring book, so I let the girls color some of his paintings as we read the biography.

My favorite thing we did for this study was re-create his Waterlilies and Bridge painting with our chalk pastels…there was a tutorial in our HodgePodge All Through the Seasons book.

Monet's Lilies

We have seen some of his water lily paintings in person at the St. Louis Art museum. They are huge and the effect is felt so much more in person than in a small print.


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