Monday, May 25, 2015

Writing in Monet's Garden

Early summer has offically arrived, and flowers everywhere are in full bloom. When thinking about art and writing exercises for this time of year,  the life and work of Claude Monet is the perfect inspiration.

Start a lesson or project  by reading one of the many picture books based on the life of Claude Monet. Three books that I recommend are:

Once Upon a Lilly Pad-Froggy Love in Monet’s Garden  by Joan Sweeny, illustrated by Kathleen Fain

Charlotte in Giverny  by Joan MacPhail Knight, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt

For an art exercise, ask children to pick out one specific item to draw or paint from a Monet painting. This can be a single flower or group of flowers, a tree, or even the bridge at Giverny. In the example picture shown here, students were asked to draw one large lily in a pond using light colored oil pastels, (white, yellow, green, pink and light blue) on watercolor paper. Next, students brushed various shades of blue and green watercolor over the oil pastel for a beautiful resist effect.

For a writing exercise, ask students to choose an animal that might live in Monet’s garden at Giverny--a bird, frog, butterfly, fish or even a lady bug. Have that animal or insect describe what they see in the garden, based on their unique perspective. Explain to the students that a bird would have a different observational point of view than a fish in the pond.  Also include the animal’s observations of the painter as he arrives each day to paint his surroundings.

Happy summer!

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