Leonardo da Vinci was probably the most famous artist of all time, but the irony is if he were alive today, he would probably think the notion of labelling him as an artist is preposterous! da Vinci considered himself to be more of a scientist and inventor first and then after the fact someone that could also paint.
His talent and mastery of the Renaissance techniques though places him squarely and firmly at the top of the list of Renaissance artists. Believe it or not da Vinci is covered today on special request from my campers :)
So we undertook the challenge to recreate da Vinci's Mona Lisa... in our own style of course!
We looked at Leonardo's version, talked about the colours he used and looked at the composition of the piece. I called their attention to the 3/4 or side view of her face and how we are to treat the position of her shoulders to make the portrait look realistic.
Georgia O'Keeffe is well-known for her beautiful paintings of giant flowers. She painted as if she zoomed her lens onto just a part of the flower and the effect was both unique and familiar. Of course, the children looked at a presentation of the life and work of Georgia O'Keeffe and we delved into our project.
We looked at some of her paintings of flowers and then each child chose a flower out of some options they were presented with to draw and paint in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe.
Van Gogh is my favorite artist of all time so I could never spend a week exploring master artists without including him. His paintings are so expressive, so full of emotion and create such a sense of urgency that it is hard to imagine how anyone who looks at them can help but fall in love with them on sight!
Van Gogh also lived a hard life. He had many trials and took a relatively long time to find art as his calling. He was also a very sensitive and vulnerable person that tended to delve wholeheartedly into whatever he set out to do, so the fact that he only ever sold one painting out of the over 2000 paintings he did over his life is one of the many sad truths of his story.
But in our short time together this morning at Paint Like the Masters I wanted the children to picture him not as a man who battled with sadness, but as a boy growing up with siblings, who played outside, who grew up into a man who loved nature and would write and paint fanatically about the stars in the sky. A man of many wonders who used art to express himself but also who attempted to make others see things as he did. We see it Vincent, we see it :)
Today my little campers were transported back to the 1800s which was the time period in which Winslow Homer lived and painted. I wanted them to get a feel for what life was like back then and picture what could have influenced someone in those times and so influenced how the art at the time looked. I found this interesting video which does a lot better job that me chattering away ever could!
Then it was time to be introduced to the artist of the day!
Winslow Homer is recognized as one of the greatest American watercolour artists of all time, and while he painted on many different subjects, he is best known for his skill in portraying varying seascapes.
So it seems only fitting that we try to imitate his mastery in this area as well! We used the painting below as our inspiration and the children were directed on how to first lay out the drawing and then to layer on the watercolour to build up the scene and create a beautiful finished product reminiscent of Homer's The Water Fan.
This was the first time some of these children have used watercolour paints and of course many were at first intimated by the need to draw the man in the boat, but they all produced good results!
Pablo Picasso's life doesn't really fit into our stereotypical view of the starving artist. On the contrary, he achieved great fame and fortune in his lifetime from his art. He was exhibiting talent in drawing almost as soon as he was able to hold a pencil and his confidence was always through the roof. One can say he was a born master and he knew it!
But the great thing about Picasso as a man and as an artist is although he was sure of his talent, he never took it for granted. He pushed himself. He worked hard at his art. He invented new ways of looking, seeing and creating. My favourite Picasso quote is "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." I think this embodies his personality and his work. He not only broke the old rules, he made up new ones!
Be a fly on the wall in our art room! Take a look at what we do, how we do it and the smiles that I get to see week after week :)