Updated: Aug 21, 2019
MommyO guides you along mini-adventures in fine art & fun art. Questions are BOLD. (Answers are ITALIC.) Hands-On Doodles™ are FUN!
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” ― Oscar-Claude Monet
Before looking at Claude Monet's beautiful artwork entitled 'Chrysanthemums (1897),' let's start by discovering a little bit about the artist himself.
Claude Monet is most well-known for being a member of a league of French artists known as 'Impressionists.' As a matter of fact, as one of the very first Impressionist painters of his time, Monet has been dubbed 'The Father of Impressionism!'
However, he did have another lesser-known claim to fame, and it had to do with his passion. I wonder if you can imagine what Monet's second claim to fame was? (Child response.) Here are a couple of clues: his second claim to fame is why we say, "Monet's artwork blooms," and why Monet is quoted as saying, "I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
What do you think was his other claim to fame based on his passion? (Answer: flowers and gardening.) We'll learn more about Monet's blooming passion in just a little bit.
Have you ever heard the word 'Impressionist' or 'Impressionism' before? (Child response.) Impressionism was one of the more short-lived art movements in history lasting from 1865-1885 — a mere 20 years. However, coupled with the invention of the camera, it soon became a very influential 20 years — after which the world would never look upon art in the same light, literally.
Prior to the invention of the camera and the Impressionist movement of the late 19th century, artists strived to paint everyday scenes with the reality of what we would expect to see in a modern-day photograph. As a matter of fact, people thought of art as a sort of visual record of history before we began to think of photos as such. The invention and mass production of the camera changed all of that and allowed artists to paint in a different light.
And paint in a different light they did!
Impressionists were more concerned with painting the light and the color of a moment in time rather than depicting every little detail of the objects they were painting. As a result, they moved from inside stuffy studios to paint in the great outdoors where an abundance of natural light flooded their subjects. Because they were most concerned with capturing light and how it reflected off objects and affected color, they had to work very quickly as natural outdoor light changes by the minute.
Do you think Impressionists painted slowly or quickly? (Answer: quickly.) Impressionists were always trying to paint their subjects before the light changed. Because light changes minute-by-minute, they used very rapid, thick — quite messy — brush strokes and started with a palette of pure unmixed paint colors, mixing them directly on the canvas to save time. Also in a time-saving effort, rather than painting every detail, they painted only a glimpse — in other words, an ‘impression’ — of what the person, object, or landscape looked like to them.
Monet's passion for everything gardening and flowers inspired him to create a floral esplanade at his homestead in Giverny [zhee-vayr-nee], France — where he spent forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926. There — with the help of his family and six gardeners — Monet composed each of his spectacular gardens as he would have composed any one of his magnificent paintings. As the story goes, after Monet first planted his floral masterpieces, he left to travel Europe and didn't return until the Giverny gardens had fully matured — at which time he began painting them.
What makes Monet different from other Impressionists of his time is that because of his obvious passion for flowers, his artwork blooms. He often painted flowers and as a result painted many works based on the flowers within his sprawling gardens.
The gardens — just to the north of Paris, France — are now kept just as Monet kept them. His love of gardening — as well as color — is evident from the sheer complexity of the landscape and its palette.
Today's Hands-On Doodle™ looks at 'Chrysanthemums,1897.' However, it wasn't just chrysanthemums that Monet prolifically painted. He loved to paint all flowers — geraniums, water lilies, gladiolus, daisies, Jerusalem artichokes, dahlias, tulips, poppies, azaleas — you name the flower, and Claude Monet probably painted it. With so many beautiful floral paintings to explore, you can rest assured there will be many more Monet doodles to come.
Monet painted flowers both growing in the garden as well as those cut and arranged in vases. Do you think the flowers in 'Chrysanthemums, 1897' are growing in a garden or arranged in a vase? (Answer: growing in a garden.) The flowers seen in 'Chrysanthemums' are clearly growing in a garden because Monet has given us a glimpse — an impression — of the green vegetation surrounding the delicate flowers.
Do the flowers look very detailed and real? (Answer: no.) It is apparent from the way in which Monet painted the Chrysanthemums that he was painting the light that shined upon the flowers — in what would be called 'highlights' — rather than the flowers themselves. It's easiest to see the highlights on the darkest flowers — the red. Do you see the pink areas on the dark red flowers? (Child response.) Those are the highlights and where Monet painted the light reflecting from the flower petals.
What other colors do you see in this painting? (Answer: examples — yellow; blue; green; orange; pink; peach; white; etc.) Color can often be used to emphasize — in order to draw in the eye — a specific part of a piece of artwork. Monet used bright white in the center of the canvas to draw the viewer's eye into the artwork. If you look away from the artwork for a minute and then look back — to where in the painting is your eye drawn first? (Child response.)
Using bold and beautiful brightly-colored papers in the Hands-On Doodle™ activity, you are going to create your own garden of flowers — so your artwork blooms! Will you try to create emphasis with color in any part of your garden? (Child response.) Imagining how you might emphasize using color — what color would you choose? (Child response.) And where would you envision that emphasis to be within your artwork? (Child response.)
8-1/2" x 11" Green Paper
Shape Templates in 'Craft Closet Staples'
No. 2 Pencil
White School Glue
The templates for this activity may be downloaded here in 'Craft Closet Staples' and printed out onto cardstock. Begin by deciding on the colors for your chrysanthemum garden. Try to choose varying shades of the same color as Monet did. You'll need to cut out six to seven flowers to fill the 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of green paper. You may also want to plan cutting some leafy vegetation from a lighter shade of green paper.
*Age Options: Younger children may prefer to use simple circles. Have them fringe the edges of the circles using scissors. Older children, who may be more ready for a scissor skills challenge, will enjoy the more detailed star-burst shaped templates.
Using the No. 2 pencil, trace the largest template onto a piece from the assortment of colored papers. Using the other four different-sized templates, trace each onto a variety of colored papers. Remember to consider varying shades of the same color.
*Tip: When tracing each shape always make sure that you place the template as close as possible to the edge of the paper or to any other shapes that you have traced. Taking this care will allow for the least amount of paper waste.
Using the scissors, cut out the different sized shapes from the different pieces of paper.
Once all your shapes have been cut from the paper, slits the edges of your flower pieces using your scissors. For the starburst shapes, this means cutting each point of the starburst into two. Do not split the petals on the smallest starburst shape. When using the simple circle stencil, cut 1/8"-1/4" slits around the circumference of each circle. The smallest circle can be cut or left with a smooth edge.
Gently bend all paper slits up from the edge of each shape towards the center — making a more decorative fringe edge — thus creating your chrysanthemum petals.
To form a chrysanthemum, glue the five decorative-edged shapes to one another — starting with the largest on the bottom and working your way up to the smallest on the top. While considering your garden pattern, position your flowers onto the green paper.
*Optional: Using the colored markers, draw a detailed center into each chrysanthemum — or glue a button into the center of each paper flower.
Should you desire, cut leaf shapes from a sheet of light green paper and position them underneath your stacked shapes.
Glue each flower, with leaves (if you so choose) into place on the 8-1/2" x 11" green paper.
Now — just like Oscar-Claude Monet — you have created a lovely garden of chrysanthemums. Hang your beautiful, brightly-colored garden on your refrigerator door to add a touch of French-Impressionism to your kitchen.
Oscar-Claude Monet painted so many different kinds of flowers — what is your favorite kind of flower?
Join our Kaboodler Klub to leave your answer below. You'll find our comment section after the recent posts feed. And by the way — Kaboodlers also enjoy access to our printable Hands-On Doodles™ and special bonus offers!
If you enjoyed this Hands-On Doodle™ and your mini-adventure in fine art using 'Monet's Artwork Blooms,' check out our Hands-On Kits & Kaboodles™ page for more fun adventures in fine art for the whole family!