Last week, my Fine Art for Kids preschool class learned about Impressionism, looking at images by Monet and studying his Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. We talked about what an “impression” is, and how we all perceive the world differently. We discussed the Impressionists’ tendency to paint in groups, depicting the same subject alongside one another and producing very different artworks. This reinforces the concept that we all have unique “impressions” of the world, seeing it through our very own, one-of-a-kind eyes. We also learned about warm and cool colors, and that many Impressionists preferred cooler colors, with spots of warm ones on top (they experimented painting with warm and cool colors, observing that the warm colors appear closer than the cooler ones.
We then began making our own masterpieces. Thus far, the kids have worked on heavy paper, but for this lesson, they made their own art on canvas. Before class, I used painters tape to make a bridge on each canvas. The kids used their own fingers as a brush, and practiced dabbing, rather than smearing (so their strokes would mirror those of the Impressionists). They covered their entire canvas with cool colors, and then moved on to warm colors to make pops of color (water lilies) under the bridge.
The students also created a collective work on canvas during this class. Using tape, I wrote the word “ART” on a canvas and had each student select one color. Using their fingertips, they dabbed that one color all over the canvas. In the end, many colors filled the canvas — and every single color contributed to the work as a whole. We talked about how each color (and student) was needed to make the painting what it is.