January 9, 2012

Our Look at Paul Cezanne

A still life of our Cezanne Study
We have had a wonderful time looking at paintings by Paul Cezanne. I introduced this fun artist to the boys via the book above called Cezanne and the Apple Boy by Laurence Anholt. It is lovely story about two Pauls, one small and one big. Small Paul has a summer off so he leaves his mother (Hortense Fiquet in the cards above) in the city to go live with his father, big Paul, in the country. The two Pauls have a wonderful summer together. We learn that later small Paul when he grows up becomes an art dealer and sells his father's paintings.

Paul Cezanne Montessori Cards
We have used Montessori cards with each of the artist we have studied and still we are not tired of playing the games that teach us the names of the paintings. The boys favorite game is concentration. They can not keep the pair unless they can say the name of the painting with no help and no hints. They do very well for after the third time playing, we played about ten times, they had the names down pretty well, even the hard French words. They play having fun and never really think that I am getting them to learn something.

Max's Painting of  Saint Victoire
I gave them a choice to paint any of the 12 paintings above, so they picked two  favorite ones and we did something with it. Max's choice was this painting. All three did a splendid job on it! They painted on canvas board which I purchased from Dick Blick art supplies for very cheap. I bought the classroom pack and saved a bundle. I think the boys enjoyed having 'real' canvas to paint on, and the finished project is sturdy and pleasing.
We began by drawing with a pencil a light sketch of the main elements in the painting; the tree, the mountain in the background, and some of the obvious bushes and trees. You may notice we left out alot of details to suit their ability. But the painting still works. Then I gave them yellow and blue to make the greens they needed. Then yellow, red and blue to make brown, and finally blue and white to make the sky. Whaaaala a bunch of paint makes a landscape.
The Card Players...everyone's favorite
This painting they all loved. but instead of painting in onto canvas board which would have been too difficult for them, I tried something I had seen over at Art Projects for Kids.

To begin:
  • I photocopied a coloring page of this painting.
  • Then I taped a piece of velum over it.
  • The boys colored the picture with my sharpie permanent markers (they got better colors that way and the ink didn't run in the next step)
  • Once they were done coloring the picture they cut off the extra edge of the paper, and we decoupaged it onto the canvas board. I used a mixture of 1:1 glue and water to do this. I fisrt painted the back and laid it onto the cavas board and then painted over the top try desperatly to get those wrinkled out. But they just would not go.
  • Then we let them dry.
In the end the colors faded a little and the wrinkling was terrible. But it makes a cool finished project any way. It was fun to look at so many still life paintings and landscape paintings, something we haven't had much exposure to, and see that even that can be interesting to three little  boys. I didn't speak at all about the cubism which is what made Cezanne revolutionary to the boys, because the boys would not have cared. They liked the natural concrete things in the paintings, and the rich earthy colors. After all, our aim is appreciate art and save it in our minds for rainy days when we need to remember beauty still is with us.

We also filled out an Artist bio sheet same as the ones we used before using Dover art stickers to embellish the page at the bottom.

I also used Van Gogh and friends to add to our knowledge of the paintings and about Paul Cezanne himself.

Now we will step back from appreciating art and learn to make some as we work on our art skills. We are focusing on drawing skills this year with Barry Stebbing's art curriculum entitled I Can Do All Things.


  1. Great work! We have been slacking in this area.

  2. Sarah, you are a top notch teacher. I am consistently impressed by what you are doing with those 3 adorable boys.