Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Picture Study: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Johannes Vermeer {1665}

Oil on canvas
Dimensions 17.5 in × 15 in
Location Mauritshuis, The Hague
It has been so long since we have had picture study. I decided we would begin our studies again with the Dutch painter JohannesVermeer. Our first piece to study, Girl with a Peal Earring, is a small oil on canvas painting. Not much is known about either Vermeer or the painting, but background is not needed for a picture study.
The primary goal for our picture study is for them to take the time and attention to notice everything they can about the painting. With this in mind, I printed out the outline for the painting from this Squidoo on Vermeer Artist Study and had the boys use watercolor to complete it, which is a medium in which they are familiar.
They noticed the shadows right away, but in trying to reproduce them, they had to focus on where the shadows exactly laid and how the artist created them. For this exercise, it is not the end result that is the important part, but it is having to focus their attention on the painting itself that is the goal. I usually do the exercise as well because it often inspires a discussion as difficulties arise such as the choice of colors. We all, in fact, note each other's progress as we paint and will comment when one of us seems to have nailed a certain aspect or color down. We freely copy each other and therefore learn from each other's efforts.
{Upper left} Quentin's, {Upper right} Alex's, {lower left} James working on his outline, {lower right} Phyllis'
They are now looking forward to seeing more of Vermeer's works. Next time I plan to focus on his indoor scenes.
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  1. Oh, I just read someone's own account (fictional) about who this girl was! LOL Interesting that you're studying about her and the artist!

  2. Oh that reminds me I need to go get my watercolor pencils from upstairs! What watercolors do you use?

  3. Good work!

    I also loved this book-
    http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Pearl-Earring-Tracy-Chevalier/dp/0452282152- but if I remember correctly there were a few parts I had to "fast forward" (that's how my dd puts it ;)) through. Still, it was a fun read.

  4. Oh how I do love Vermeer! Why haven't I thought of sharing his work with my oldest son yet? I'm adding it to my ever-growing list, thanks to you! Wonderful activity!

  5. I love Vermeer and this painting. Every time I read one of your picture studies I want to do it. I really need to get more organized between 'wanting' and 'doing'!!

  6. I love Vermeer (maybe it is the Dutch in me). Have you read the book? It is a bit racy as Laurie said so not something for your kids but it isn't as bad as some of Chevalier's other books. The movie was lovely and if I remember quite clean.

    The painting in good reproductions is quite luminous so I totally understand why it is so popular.

    We've been doing picture studies in Rembrandt this semester and it has been awhile for us too. I have an activity I want to do with his Flora painting but I just can't quite fit it in.


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