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Skyline impressions.

This lesson began with a brief story on the life of Claude Monet, his origination of Impressionism, and his love of painting water, oceans, rivers, lakes and boats. I mentioned that he was one of the first artists to do his painting outdoors. Paint tubes had became available at that time; before this, painters had to cart huge tubs of paint if they wished to paint outside of their studios. Claude Monet was not a great student and had problems in school because he drew funny pictures of his teachers. These were the early drawings of Monet.

We took a look at Monet's paintings throughout his life: pictures of water, pictures of people, of his wife, Camille, at the time of their marriage; and pictures that reflected the happenings of the times. We discussed the concept that the art that we create changes and develops as we do.

We looked at Monet's Water Lillies and other paintings he did of water and discussed Impressionism. We looked at his paintings up close and at a distance, and the students discussed what they saw. Impressionism up close looks like a mass of fuzzy color and yet, at a distance, the picture becomes clearer. Students began to realize that they could create a painting with masses of color.

The lesson was to paint the New York City skyline in the style of Impressionism and we all pretended to be Impressionist painters like Claude Monet. Monet painted the London skyline and this was used as one of the examples. The students began by drawing the outline of the buildings, then chose two or three colors to paint each building. After several buildings were painted, the students noticed that, up close, the paintings looked like lots of fuzzy color and as they stepped back they could see the buildings much more clearly. The students really enjoyed learning a new painting style. Instead of painting in whole areas and painting lines and shapes, students were painting with dabs of color and using many different colors in one space.

Students really enjoyed painting in a new way. Not only could they now recognize an Impressionist painting they had the chance to understand and to experience Impressionists as well.

Linda Yoffe teaches at Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut.
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Title Annotation:an elementary school lesson on French impressionist painter Claude Monet
Author:Yoffe, Linda
Publication:School Arts
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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