I don’t do a lot of kid stuff on this blog, because, well, we don’t have any of the two-legged, non-feathered variety. But from time to time, my ‘loaner kids’ come over for a visit (good friends of the family–the two girls were our wedding flower girls!) The chickens were thrilled to have three of their favorite kids (we refer to them as C2, C3, and C1, respectively) over the other day for an ‘art lesson’ on Impressionism. (There are only a handful of subjects that I possibly know enough about to try to ‘teach’ anyone: decorative wreathes, cocktails, and Impressionist painters….for this ‘lesson’ it was a close call between subjects 2 and 3. No one wants to learn about wreathes.)
We began with some print-outs of a few well-known Vincents and Claudes, so the kids could get a feeling for how these painters concentrated less on specific form, and more on color and light. I also wanted them to notice the deliberate brushstrokes, and the layering of color upon color. We were going to paint the chickens in this manner, but we weren’t going to paint what our brains told us a chicken looked like; we were going to paint based on the colors we were seeing. To help with this a bit, I selected photos of each of our birds and applied a painting filter effect to them in Photoshop, then printed them out…they looked something like this:
So each kid picked a chicken, and we began. Because the focus of this project was the bird, I had them ignore the backgrounds in the photos and simply fill their entire canvas with simple, bold color.
Next, the kids drew the outline of the chicken in white, and filled it in so that we could layer other colors nicely over the top. (This is mostly due to the type of paint we were working with; non-toxic kid paints tend to be very transparent and don’t work as well for layering as the oil paints of the Impressionists.)
We then let that layer dry thoroughly (yay for the quick-drying powers of acrylic paint!).
Next, it was time to start layering on some color, Impressionist-style:
I urged the kids to paint the colors that they were seeing. For instance, instead of falling into the trap of thinking a chicken’s comb is red, look closer: it’s actually rather pink.
We layered and layered the different colors until we got some pretty good results!
I somehow didn’t get a close-up of C2’s finished Clementine portrait (she was still working till the bitter end!)….but please enjoy the final group shots:
Not sure who wins best face….but we got some pretty awesome paintings here, if I do say so myself!!!
Tagged: acrylic paint, backyard chickens, chicken art project, chicken painting project for kids, chicken portrait, chicken portraits, filter effect, homeschool art lesson, impressionism for kids, impressionist painters, Impressionist painting lesson, kids painting project, non-toxic paint, trash bag, trash bag painting smock