Here is an excerpt from our new art curriculum What Do You See? A Child’s First Introduction to Art, Volume 1 by Laurie Bluedorn. You can purchase Volume 1 on Amazon for $2.99.
How to Use This Curriculum
This curriculum is a gentle and easy introduction to art appreciation for children, ages 4-12. Our goal is to introduce children to basic concepts in learning how to look at a piece of art and evaluate it. In addition, we want to spark in the child a love for the great works of art.
Here are five benefits for your students when they appreciate art:
1. It will stimulate them to ask questions.
2. It will cause them to try to understand why the artist painted what he did.
3. It will push them to pay attention to details the artist placed inside his painting.
4. It will make them curious and perhaps try to paint something themselves.
5. It will stimulate them to research the life of the artist and the history of the painting.
The students and teacher should spend a bit of time observing the painting, and then answer the questions. Since one of our goals is to learn to love art, we recommend that you ask the child to answer the questions orally, not with pencil and paper. We want to make the learning experience enjoyable for you and the children.
This first volume will introduce only one art principle — Center of Interest. A center of interest is the all-important part of a painting — that part of the picture where the artist wants you to look first and which attracts the mind. The center of interest often has the sharpest edges, the brightest colors, and the most detail. In addition, it often contains a color that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the painting. Keep in mind, though, not all paintings contain a center of interest, plus, unless the artist has told us what he intended his center of interest to be, there could be differences of opinion as to a painting’s center of interest.
A Child’s Menagerie by Eastman Johnson
Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) was an American painter who liked to paint everyday people in everyday life. This painting is called A Child’s Menagerie and was painted in 1859. It is not in a museum, but in a private collection.
1) Describe the room in this painting.
2) Why are there animals in this room?
3) How many pets does the little girl have? What are they?
4) What do you think the little girl is thinking?
5) Do you have any pets like these? Would you like to have this many pets?
6) Did you notice that the artist painted the little girl’s face and clothing with light? He did this to draw our eye when we look at the painting.
7) Do you think that the little girl is the center of interest of this painting?