We finished up our study of Monet with his series of Japanese Bridge paintings. But before I introduced this series to them, we reviewed all of the paintings we had studied by playing a game. I gave them each, face down, one of the prints we had already studied. They, in turn, described their painting and the rest of us had to guess which one they had. They could not use any of the words in the title (for instance for the Garden at Sainte Adresse, they could not use any of these words in their description, like "garden.") This gave them practice at closely looking at a painting, describing it and remembering what paintings we have studied.
After this game, I showed them several prints in the Japanese Bridge series and they saw that as Monet's eyesight failed, the details faded, but his talent at seeing and painting the many variations of color and texture that light provides was still strong.With this in mind, we took our backpack filled with painting supplies and went on an explore. We found a spot high above the beach and we all painted our impressions. After our trip, we came back home and the boys watched the video, Linnea in Monet's Garden. Linnea, a young girl of about eight, gives a lesson in art history through her first-person account. This is a scrapbook-like story of her trip to Paris and Giverny to learn about Monet's waterlily paintings. Pictures of Linnea in Monet's environment are juxtaposed with period photographs of the artist and reproductions of the paintings themselves. The focus is always on the specific. For example, Monet's brushstrokes are examined. Glimpses of Monet's biography, family tree and of Paris are a part of the story. There is really a sense of being there, which is a wonderful ending for our study of Monet.
For another art exercise with Monet's Bridge series, go here.
The Adventures of Bear has a lovely idea of extending Monet's impressionistic style to a Christmas Tree.