When teaching a lesson revolving around a famous artist in history, I begin by showing examples of the artist’s work, talk about their choice of media and subject matter, then read a short biography. In addition (and what really seems to capture the attention of the students) is reading a picture book that captures the art and personality of the artist in story.
Some wonderful books I’ve used and recommend are:
by Nina Laden
A fictionalized story about the friendship between Picasso and Matisse.
by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Three mice learn to look at art using shapes, colors, composition and more--a great introduction for students on what to look for in any painting.
by Jeanette Winter
A biography of the artist Georgia O'Keefe.
by Cristina Bjork
A young girl visits Monet's Garden.
by Robert Burleigh
Focuses on a single painting introducing the artist's life and work.
As a writing exercise, have children study one work of art by the artist featured in your lesson. Have children imagine themselves inside the painting, living in that world and write a short story about it. What do they see, smell and hear? Who or what is in the painting with them? What is happening around them or what is about to happen?
Wishing everyone a wonderful start to the new school year!