Including art appreciation in 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 seven ideas for making art appreciation simple. In short — just study the picture!
Who is worthy of study? That question will likely be answered differently for each family. 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,” but the all-too-personal details of an artist’s life are not crucial to understanding or appreciating his work. With that in mind, decide who you will study.
To really get a feel for a particular artist’s work, we need to be exposed to more than one print. (The same could be said for music or literature.) Choose six prints from your artist to study — one per week.
Give your child time to just visit with the picture unobstructed. No lecture. No offering someone’s opinion of the work. Let the child form his own acquaintance at this stage.
Just as we ask our children to narrate a work of literature (or interact with it in some way) so also our students can narrate a work of art. The simplest way to evoke a response is simply to ask the child to tell you what he saw.
Depending on the child, he can draw or sketch the work — at least the outlines. Some may be intimidated by this, so let each child work at his own level. Other children may be more content coloring an outline replication of the work, if available.
Keep an art appreciation notebook. Create a notebooking page per work of art, or 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