Artist Study Idea - MetroFamily Magazine
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Artist Study Idea

by Jennifer Geary

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

When we first started our artist studies about a year and a half ago, I wanted to focus on famous artists I thought my kids should be familiar with—those like Norman Rockwell or Pablo Picasso that have produced images we see everywhere.  I also wanted to be able to see some of the works in person when possible or tie the artist in with something else we were studying.  If I could find some great projects for us to try, it was even better.

Last summer I sketched out a list of artists we would study over the course of the year and for some reason I included Raphael.  There are a lot of good reasons to study Raphael since he’s one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, but when it came time to plan the details, I was staring at a piece of paper with one book listed and one activity—and I knew it would be way above my daughter’s skill level and likely my son’s, too.  I couldn’t figure out why I had chosen him other than his TMNT connection.  I’d already bought the book and printed off things for our bulletin board, though, so I decided to stick with it!

I’m so glad we studied Raphael!  We didn’t see any of his paintings in person, but we were able to take a field trip and we found some other good materials and even a fun project we were all able to do.  Not every artist is as easy to study with kids as someone like Picasso, but there are some simple things you can do to help make any artist study fun!

  • Head to the Museum:  Our local museum doesn’t have any Raphaels, but we are fortunate enough to have some great Renaissance art on display.  Try finding art from the same time period or a similar style and compare it to the work of the artist you’re studying.  The OKC metro has some wonderful museums with such a diverse collection of work that this should be easy!
  • Study the Time Period:  We hadn’t learned much about the Renaissance before, but our Raphael study was a great way to introduce it.  Some artists were greatly influenced by the world events taking place during their time and you can see that in their work.
  • Search Amazon:  Sometimes it’s hard to find many kid-friendly books for certain artists, but if you keep looking, you will be surprised what you can find.  I’m willing to buy some books our library doesn’t have, especially when they cover more than one artist or include activity ideas.
  • Search Pinterest:  I’m not sure how I ever taught anything without Pinterest, especially art!  I have found some wonderful ideas that I never would have thought to Google just by searching an artist’s name.  Remember that you might not be able to paint as well as Van Gogh, but it’s a great time to experiment with oil paints and see how they are different than watercolors or other materials you’ve tried before.  There is no way I could paint like Raphael, but we had a great time making our own frescoes!

Hopefully those ideas will encourage you to study a new artist that you might not have been sure about.  We had such a great time learning together and I am so glad I took the chance!

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