Picking up where we left off, I am sharing two more Monet inspired projects my daughters and I did at home last month which I’m pretty sure grown ups will enjoy just the same.
These projects invite you to go spend some time outside the house, just as far as you can manage while still practicing social distancing, and appreciate the natural elements around you. If you have a garden, no matter how big or small, it’s a chance to see it in a new light and find fresh beauty in it you may have otherwise missed.
It has been raining quite a lot lately but when the sun does come out, I invite you to try these out!
PROJECT 3: Flower Print and Scrape Painting
I discovered this project from Playful Learning and thought it seemed like an easy project that is also highly enjoyable. I was right! The girls definitely found this project fun and satisfying.
MATERIALS: Fresh flowers and leaves, paint, paper, cardboard, plate
• Go out to your garden or walk around your neighborhood to look for different types of flowers and leaves. Pick some but only after making sure it is allowed. If you don’t have access to a garden, you may purchase fresh blooms.
• Put some paint on a plate and dip the flowers and leaves in it. Then, press them gently onto your paper. It’s okay if the imprints look imperfect. Remember that Monet’s Impressionistic style is not about making exact depictions of objects but about capturing the feeling of the moment.
• Fill the page with flower prints in as many different colors as you like. Once done, let it dry.
• Many of Monet’s paintings showed flowers as reflections on a body of water. To achieve this, squeeze out a dollop of blue paint on one edge of your paper. Get a piece of cardboard then drag it across the paper, over the flower prints. Try to cover the entire paper with the scraped blue paint.
This last step was the girls’ favorite part! I love how the erratic layers of blue paint mimicked the movement of water.
PROJECT 4: Outdoor Painting
This final Claude Monet art project is very similar to one of the David Hockney projects we did a few months back (Don’t remember? Click HERE!) But instead of staying indoors and zoning in on a corner of our home, we went out and zoned in on a part of the garden!
Our main inspiration for this one was Monet’s Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond from 1920 which is a three panel installation measured at 6.5 feet high and 41.8 feet long.
During that time, the norm for artists was to capture an entire vista, a vast landscape. But in this painting, you see Monet’s genius in capturing just a section of the surface of the pond wherein you see more than just water or floating lilies but also the reflection of the sky. And together it created this almost dizzying montage. The seemingly blurred and rough paint strokes somehow give the illusion of light and movement.
This painting proves that you don’t always have to show the big picture to tell a story or capture beauty. Many times, a small part or a tiny detail can already tell so much.
Materials: Paper, Watercolor set, Masking Tape or Washi Tape
• Go out to the garden or backyard and pick a section to paint.
• Get a piece of paper and cut out a rectangular hole in the center (approx 8×4 inches long). This is going to be your framing tool. Hold it up to that section of the garden that you picked and you will only draw what you see within the frame. This is a technique to help you, specially the little ones, to zone in on the area and not be distracted by everything else. Just make sure you hold it up from the same distance and at the same height.
• Mask the center of your paper and create a rectangle similar to the size of the hole in the framing tool. You will paint within the rectangle.
• Use your framing tool and study the details you are about the paint. Look at the colors, the shapes and the lines within the frame. Start painting! Every now and then, hold out the framing tool again to check what other details you may have missed.
• Once done and painting is dry, peel off the masking tape. How do you like it?
Don’t worry if your painting is not instantly recognizeable. Monet’s Water Lilies were also confusing to many in the beginning. But now we know he really just found joy in capturing details most people don’t normally pay attention to and there’s something very refreshing with that. He even painted the same things multiple times in different hours of the day. I can only guess it is because nature is always changing. The clouds, the plants, the waters — they always look a little different every time and it’s these ever evolving details that he most passionately pursued.
I hope you enjoyed our Claude Monet projects just as much as we did. In case you missed it, here is Part 1:
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