Adding art appreciation to an already over-crowded school year is always a feeble effort at best. Despite our best intentions, that art appreciation will end up being quite under-appreciated — if appreciated at all! Here are 7 ideas for making picture study simple. In short — just study the picture!
Who is worthy of study? Every family will likely answer this question in a different way.
Don’t worry about studying the biography of the artist at all. Older students will perhaps better understand a work by knowing where the artist was “coming from.” However, the all-too-personal details of an artist’s life are not crucial to young students understanding or appreciating his work.
To really get a feel for a particular artist’s work, it is best to study more than one print. (The same could be said for music or literature.)
Choose six prints by the artist you selected to study — one per week. This tends to fit well in a normal school schedule.
Give your student time to just visit with the picture unobstructed. No lecture. No offering an opinion of the work.
At this point, the goal is to let the student form his own relationship with the art.
Just as we ask our children to narrate a work of literature (or interact with it in some way), our students can also narrate a work of art.
The easiest way to evoke a response is to simply ask your student to tell you what he sees.
Depending on the child, he can draw or sketch his own version the work — at least the outlines.
Some may be intimidated by this, so let each student work at his own level. Some children will be content coloring an outline replication of the work.
Keep an art appreciation notebook.
Create a notebooking page for every work of art. Create an artist notebooking page that includes the various works of art studied by a particular artist.
During the week of study, find ways to display the work to keep it in front of the student’s eye.
Create an “Artist Corner” in your home where paintings can be printed and displayed in a frame during the week of their study.
Many, many art resources — most free!
Discovering Great Artists by Kohl and Solga
Winner of a Practical Homeschooling Reader Award, contains over 150 hands-on activities based on the styles of great artists. A helpful guide in the front lists the artists chronologically along with their style of art, the level of the associated activity, and prep time. A family favorite.
Artist Notebooking Set
Simple pages for drawing or narrating a work of art and documenting the artist and his works.
8 Ways to Incorporate Art Appreciation