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Art Appreciation Made Simple

Picture study is a technique I learned about when studying the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. Looking for a simple way to help your kids appreciate different artists and begin to see the differences between styles? Picture study is a fun and simple way to do this.

How to do a picture study

You introduce your child to a painting (or a photo of that painting) and let them look at it for a while. Then, you take the picture back and have her describe it to you in detail.

Then, you show the picture again.

I usually do this for a couple days with the same picture, as it is remarkable how many details aren’t noticed at first glance. It is recommended that you choose paintings from the same artist for a few months, and by the end of that time you are pretty familiar with that artist’s work. I haven’t exactly been sticking to that.

We have a postcard book from a museum and I’ve just been letting the girls choose paintings at random and we’ll study each for a week or two. I can see the benefits of sticking with one artist. Now that my girls are familiar with the concept and excited about it, I will start selecting pictures from one artist at a time.

It is very simple! Over time, I’m hoping my kids will start to appreciate art more fully and develop their own opinions of different artists.

Where to find paintings

Here are some great resources for finding paintings. The websites listed include endless resources…I haven’t reviewed them in their entirety, so be sure to preview them.

  • Famous Artist Gallery (Great, large size images)
  • The Getty
  • Famous Artists
  • Artists
  • Don’t forget your local library for art books.
  • Art calendars- I have a Monet calendar that provides 12 pictures to study. Dollar stores sometimes carry them!
  • Thrift shops- Look for art books here, too.
  • Postcard books- I got mine at the Getty, but bookstores have them as well.

  • Who is your favorite artist?

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    1. Elissa says

      Great Idea! I like to take what my kids are interested in and find paintings that related to the subject. I have found out there are some really cool pirate and cowboy paintings out there. Picaso is always the fall back when the kids get overly frustrated with their own creative efforts. His work really brings home the fact the art can be anything you wish it to be.

    2. Krissy says

      I just found your blog and am loving it!!! I followed the link over to the Picture Study and thought I’d share that Costco (online) has galleries now and you can print the art. It is in their photo center and you can print an 8×10 print ($1.50) to a poster board or canvas. Monet and “Famous Paintings” are two examples of categories that are great.

      • Homegrown Mom says

        That is awesome, Krissy! Thanks for sharing, I am definitely going to use that. We use Costco for printing all our photos, they are so affordable :)


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