If David Hockney prompted us to explore the minute details of the indoors last March, Claude Monet inspired us to look outside and enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors throughout the month of September.
Unfortunately, we didn’t go walking in the woods or traipsing by a bubbling brook, as one would imagine Monet doing to get inspiration for his work back in the day. It would have been wonderful if we had but the girls and I could only go as far as the backyard garden. As city folks though, I actually feel that we are, in fact, quite lucky to have an access to our own lush patch of greenery. So best to enjoy and take advantage of it for the sake of art, which is exactly what we did!
This time, my youngest daughter, Jo, picked our featured artist when she saw one of Monet’s lily paintings online. It was an easy choice seeing that his works are very appealing. Many people confusingly thought his work was garbage — all blurry and indistinct — when they first came out but it was only because he was trying something new that the art world then was just not ready for. Now, many many years after, we see the impact he has made and are still learning from the beautiful pieces he has left behind.
So, let’s venture out, why don’t we? Go out to the lawn, the park, the balcony — anywhere you are allowed to go to with the kids where you’ll get a glimpse of nature and together, let’s capture beauty just like Claude Monet.
MEET THE ARTIST
We always start off with an introduction to the artist before working on any project. For this one, the kids and I came across a number of fun and interesting videos on YouTube about Monet which made us understand him more and how he saw the world around him.
These animated ones were funny and the kids loved them!
This one is a picture book reading about Claude Monet’s life which is perfect for smaller kids.
I love the Tate Kids videos because they are so good at explaining complex art concepts for kids to understand. Here is one about Monet and the Impressionist Movement.
PROJECT 1: Masked Bridge Finger Painting
Aside from being a painter, Monet was also an avid horticulturist. He purchased a piece of property on Giverny, France, which he developed into beautiful gardens. One of the features in his gardens is a white wooden arch bridge which you’ll see in many of his paintings. In fact, he created an entire series featuring 18 views of the same wooden footbridge.
In this first project, we will paint our very own version and the best thing about it is that we get to use our hands!
MATERIALS: Paint, Palette or Plates, Paper, Masking Tape / Paper Tape
- Using masking or paper tape, create an outline of an arch bridge across a plain piece of paper
- Prepare your paint. If you’re using tube paint or bottled paint, put some of each color on a paint palette or plate for easy access
- Picture in your mind what you see above, underneath and around the bridge. Are there green trees? Purple flowers? Blue skies? Use your fingers and dab different colors onto the paper as impressions of the objects you imagine to be there. Fill the whole page.
- When you’re done and happy with your finger painting, peel the tape off to reveal the white and clean wooden footbridge.
Isn’t the contrast of the bridge from its colorful surrounding such a satisfying image? Look at your work closely for one more moment. Try to squint a little. Do you see any other image produced by the random dabs of paint that you may have not noticed while you were working on it? Is always fun to spot those little surprises!
PROJECT 2: Miniature Lily Pond
This is probably our favorite Monet project! In case you didn’t know, my three daughters are obsessed with miniatures — basically anything tiny and proportional to their dolls. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that 75% percent of their days are spent fabricating these tiny objects for for sprucing up the tiny environments they’ve created for their dolls. So when I told them we’d make a little lily pond, they were beyond thrilled! And it’s inspired by Monet’s many water lily paintings, of course.
MATERIALS: Tray or Shallow Plastic Container, Green Foam Sheets (available in Craft Easy PH, Lazada), Paper Cupcake Liners, Rocks, Cardboard
- First, make little lily pads using green foam sheet. With the help of an adult, hot glue some scrunched up cupcake liners onto the foam lily pads to create the water lilies
- Go outside and collect some small rocks for decorating the inside of the pond
- Cut up some cardboard and create a little arch footbridge that will run across the width of the tray. Use hot glue to secure it. Paint the bridge white but make it look a little shabby like weathered wood.
- Add little felt plants along the sides of the tray
- Fill the tray with water. Add a couple of drops of blue food coloring for a more dramatic effect.
- Finally, put the felt water lily pads one by one on the water and watch them float.
You can turn this miniature lily pond into a cute table centerpiece or a venue for when your doll wants to go out for a walk. Either way, it’s really nice to look at, don’t you think?
These projects have been a lot of fun to do but that’s not it! We did two more Monet projects and we’re eager to share them with you too, so watch out for Part 2.
Check out the previous months’ artists in focus:
AUGUST: Alma Woodsey Thomas
JULY: Joan Miro
JUNE: Jacob Lawrence
MAY: Betye Saar PART 1 | Betye Saar PART 2
MARCH: David Hockney PART 1 | David Hockney PART 2
FEBRUARY: Yayoi Kusama PART 1 | Yayoi Kusama PART 2
JANUARY: Pablo Picasso