Magazine article Arts & Activities

Artists Paint ... Impressionism

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Artists Paint ... Impressionism

Article excerpt

On the right side of this painting, see the woman in the doorway, watching the little girl playing with a hoop outside. Perhaps she is calling the child to come in for lunch.

Claude Monet loved flowers and had beautiful gardens in the places he lived in France. See the dabs of paint in the trees and on the flowers. A vine is climbing up the house. If we look at a small section close up, we can see that it is quite different from what we see at a distance or when we squint our eyes at it.

This Impressionist artist endeavored to capture the effect of a scene as it would be perceived in a fleeting glance--a quick impression. He was one of the plein-air artists believing that it was important to paint in the open air. Monet sometimes stopped mixing paint on his palette and applied it directly to the canvas in small dabs.

At 16 years of age, Monet drew caricatures and sold them, saving his money to go to Paris. He arrived there to study art when he was 18. He also served with the African Light Infantry in Algeria, where the desert landscape and bright sunshine excited him and influenced his future work.

Later in life, his works were highly regarded and he was able to purchase a home and garden in Giverny, north of Paris. His goal was to paint light and nature as he saw them in a brief moment. His painting, Impression: Sunrise, gave the title that was given to Monet and his associates: Impressionists.

This excerpt is adapted from Barbara Herberholz's digital Art Docent Program. For elementary classrooms, each lesson presents six famous artworks to show to the class on whiteboards, with theme-related studio art activities. Learn more at:

grade 5-6

National Art Standards

Understand and apply media, techniques and processes

Students reflect upon and assess the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others


* Tempera paint: white, turquoise, magenta and yellow

* Cotton swabs or small bristle brushes

* 6" x 9" white paper

* Paper plates for palettes

* Water containers

* Paper towels

* Two L-frames (Large Us made from two 2-inch-wide strips of construction paper and glued or stapled at one end to form an L)


Squint your eyes and look at an outdoor landscape. …

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