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We had an enjoyable month studying our first artist Vincent van Gogh. I’m so glad Meet the Masters used van Gogh as the first unit and introduction to the artists, we all really loved learning about him. So today we re-read our books on van Gogh.

We did another art project in The Usborne Art Treasury, the first one called “Swirly Landscape”.

For this we used acrylic paints mixed with white glue so we could really gob the paint on to get some texture. We used a spoon to etch some grass and swirls in.

After it dried, we could see a bit of texture, although not as much as some of Vincent’s paintings. He really must have went through a lot of paint!

And just like van Gogh, Satori signed only her first name.

Next the family each chose a coloring page out of Color Your Own Van Gogh Paintings coloring book. We had a sample print of his to copy if we wanted, and then we took various markers to try to replicate it. Coloring is such a relaxing activity, I love it.

Mom printed off a bunch of prints for our next artist study. Can anyone guess who it might be?

And just for kicks, Mama spent the entire night last night compiling a list of top 100 famous artists. This was awfully hard to do as there’s thousands of wonderful artists, but I mostly took the artists most commonly found in children’s art books and on various artist lists for children to study and came up with a top one hundred. I added a few modern-day artists that might not be found in many art books. The closer to the top, the more popular an artist is. And the top artist was Vincent van Gogh! Other popular ones are Da Vinci, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt, all of which we’ll be covering in our art appreciation studies.

This weekend also marked our very first foray into our new art enrichment program, Meet the Masters! Satori and David had been coloring on the living room floor, so I snuck a laptop in front of them and started playing the lesson. This program is online, so we watched both the Preview and van Gogh Unit lessons. This viewing was Step 1, and we loved the lesson and enjoyed listening to “Starry, Starry Night” by Don McLean. (music and video shown at end of this post)

Step 2 of our van Gogh lesson explored texture and had a few worksheets in the Downloadable Art Packet for Satori to practice drawing texture.

Step 3 is the Create a Masterpiece Art Activity! We used van Gogh’s technique of using little line dabs to make texture, and made our own starry night.  We used black construction paper (actually sulphite) and used oil pastels. The oil pastels really stood out upon the black paper.

The whole family made their own artwork, and we had a print of Starry Night propped up in front of us. (This is our new Art Appreciation binder I made a few days ago).

Here’s Satori’s Starry Night masterpiece!

We used the directions for Track A, Year 1 ages 5-7. There are two other levels you can use if you have older children, so you can get a bit more sophisticated. For Track A, there are age levels of 5-7, 8-9, and 10-adult.

Satori turned around and made another picture, she wanted to draw birds flying on a landscape.

It actually reminded me of Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Wheatfield with Crows”, although I don’t think Satori ever saw it. Now I have it up as a desktop wallpaper on the kitchen computer. We have various van Gogh painting as wallpaper on all our computers now.

Vincent’s story was very sad and tragic, but we loved learning about his life and his passions and sorrows.

Lyrics and explanation found here. An alternative YouTube video without the depressing text at the end is found here.

We are now seeing van Gogh’s paintings everywhere! Now that we studied him in just this initial lesson, we can’t miss his unmistakable art techniques, colors, and subjects. This is exactly what I wanted in starting an Art Appreciation program!

I have a bunch of read-alouds and other activities that we’ll do the next few weeks to continue with our van Gogh study. Meet the Masters only has 7 units, so we could easily whip through the entire first “year” in just a few months. We loved our first lesson, but I’ll have to find ways to slow it down by doing this more slowly, and adding our own fun supplements.