An Impressionist Art Lesson from the Chickens

Impressionism Chicken Art from Farmhouse38I 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:

Photoshopped Painting of Millie from Farmhouse38

This may seem a bit like ‘cheating’, but I wanted the kids to see the chicken more as bits of color and light, rather than just a chicken.

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.

Impressionist Chicken Paintings from Farmhouse38

We filled the entire canvas, and then let them dry while we had a juice break.  And yes, those are trash bag painting smocks.

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.)

Impressionist Chicken Art for Kids from Farmhouse38

The face of concentration.

Impressionist Chicken Paintings for Kids from Farmhouse38

Impressionism Lesson for Kids from Farmhouse38

A darned fine Gertie silhouette.

We then let that layer dry thoroughly (yay for the quick-drying powers of acrylic paint!).

Accidental Face-Painting from Farmhouse38

So while we waited….this happened!

Accidental Face-Painting from Farmhouse38

Epic photo-bombing.

Next, it was time to start layering on some color, Impressionist-style:

Impressionist Painting for Kids from Farmhouse38

C1’s face paint is still cracking me up.

Impressionist Chicken Painting for Kids from Farmhouse38

Another comprehensive animal photo-bombing.

Impressionist Painting with Kids from Farmhouse38

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.

Impressionist Chicken Art for Kids from Farmhouse38

C2 couldn’t help but embellish the background.

Impressionist Chicken Art for Kids from Farmhouse38

C1 really got into the ‘dappling’ brushstrokes. Very Monet!

Impressionist Chicken Art for Kids from Farmhouse38

Yeah, Southpaw!

We layered and layered the different colors until we got some pretty good results!

Impressionist Chicken Paintings for Kids from Farmhouse38

Gertie has never looked better!

Impressionist Chicken Paintings for Kids from Farmhouse38

‘Millie and Eloise in the Garden’, acrylic on canvas, by C1

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:

Impressionist-Inspired Chicken Paintings from Farmhouse38

Impressionist-Inspired Chicken Paintings from Farmhouse38

Impressionist-Inspired Chicken Paintings from Farmhouse38

Not sure who wins best face….but we got some pretty awesome paintings here, if I do say so myself!!!

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32 thoughts on “An Impressionist Art Lesson from the Chickens

  1. little poppits May 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm Reply

    aww the such cute snaps, with your cute chooks they are sure to get great paintings every time. xxxx

    • farmhouseK8 May 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm Reply

      Hahaha! I know! I wish I could take credit, but it was out of my hands!!! 🙂

  2. Jennifer K May 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm Reply

    Awesome!! I appreciate the trash bag smocks too.

    • farmhouseK8 May 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm Reply

      YES!! They are genius, heheheh. (BTW–Hi, Jenn!) 🙂

  3. Christi {Jealous Hands} May 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm Reply

    How fun – and they look fantastic! 🙂

  4. C1 May 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm Reply

    Nicely done! I did not know that I looked so crazily goofy!

    • farmhouseK8 May 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm Reply

      Oh, stop it, you!! You look great, knucklehead! 😀

  5. home, garden, life May 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm Reply

    Love da chicken art! What a super teach you are! Kudos to the young artists!

    • farmhouseK8 May 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply

      They did so well!! I might have to make some prints of these and put them on the ‘gallery’ wall! 🙂 Thanks!!

  6. Charlotte Zweigoron May 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm Reply

    So tidy and organized… how come it was never like that when I did this stuff with my kids? Be warned. Cute kids, great art… guess what caught my attention the most? The rows of fabric flags from a previous post!!! TFS

    • farmhouseK8 May 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm Reply

      Hahahaha! Yes! The bunting!! It’s distracting! 🙂

  7. Shannon May 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm Reply

    Fab!! “Two-legged non-feathered variety” cracked me up. You’re gonna be one fun mama, if that day ever comes. Beautiful artwork those kids created.

  8. Natalie, the Chickenblogger May 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm Reply

    Marvelous talents!
    And inspiring, too.

  9. Tracy Peters May 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm Reply

    Wonderful. I would be proud to hang any of those works of art on my wall.

    • farmhouseK8 May 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm Reply

      I totally agree! I kind of wanted to keep them for my ‘gallery’ wall, but they needed them for school! 🙂

  10. C3 May 24, 2013 at 5:46 am Reply

    We had lots of fun! Neek is the best art teacher I know! THANK YOU! : – )

    • farmhouseK8 May 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm Reply

      Hahahah–thanks, C3!!! I had fun, too!!! 😀

  11. jean May 24, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

    Ah, to be a kid again! I think the children did a great job in their art. You may not live in the country (yet), but, your photos sure make it look like you do.

    • farmhouseK8 May 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm Reply

      Oh–I kind of think this is the best compliment that I have ever received! Thank you so much! 😀

  12. pivi63 May 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm Reply

    What a fantastic way to spend a sunny day!

  13. julieadolf May 29, 2013 at 2:10 am Reply

    Can you please come be my neighbor and teach my kids how to paint? PLEASE??? This. Is. FABULOUS. Seriously, I’m the worst artist in the world, and even I want to paint one of our girls’ portraits. I think the kids and I will have to give it a whirl next week when summer vacation official begins–woot woo! Your kiddo friends did an amazing job with their paintings.

    • farmhouseK8 May 29, 2013 at 4:25 am Reply

      Aww, thanks, Julie!! Yes!! I want to come be your neighbor and absorb all of your amazing garden karma!! 😀 You know what’s so funny? I loved these portraits so much that I am making copies of the paintings and framing them to hang inside the coop. Every proper lady-hen should have an impressionist portrait of herself, don’t you think?? Hahaha!

  14. C2 June 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm Reply

    Wow they look better on there then they do in real life. Sunshine and flowers!

  15. Emma June 20, 2013 at 4:12 am Reply

    Hey, can you send some of that good art teacher stuff my way? Thanks for sharing! Please let us know when you do this again (with lots of pictures that is!)

  16. Janet June 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm Reply

    You are the luckiest momma in the word! Chickens, sunshine, gorgeous backyard and three painting angels! What else is there in the world to need or want?


    • farmhouseK8 June 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm Reply

      Hahaha! Janet, I wish I could take credit for those incredible kids, but they belong to my wonderful friend! I just like to borrow them from time to time. 😀 But thank you anyhow!!!

  17. Chicken Coop Gallery Wall | Farmhouse38 September 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm Reply

    […] Remember these talented knuckleheads and their impressionist chicken portraits?  If not, check out the blog post here. […]

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