now what?

I noticed in the newspaper that the Arts Center is hosting an Impressionists Exhibit. I thought that would be a great thing to take the kids to go see. It has been running a while and ends on June 26th. Before I took them to see a bunch of old paintings I thought the trip might go better if they knew a little about what they were seeing. So, our journey begins….


First stop, the library. Our local library is pretty small. We have  “Gateway Cards” for the library in the “big city”. It allows us to check out 5 items each. That is not a lot for my little book lovers.

I warned prepared them for the activity that I had planned for them. We all went our separate ways in the library with instructions to look for books on our topic. I noticed I was the only one at the card catalog-hmmmm. Megan did get an art book. I ended up finding a picture book related to the Impressionists for Katie. I also found this book…

So far it is really easy to understand. As you can see on the front, there are activities throughout the book.

I have to admit, I was pretty excited to start this little endeavor. This excitement was not shared by others involved-at first. “Ugh! This is like school!” “OK-Only 45 minutes-like at school.” Trust me, once they got it in their heads that we only needed to spend 45 minutes on this “boring activity”, it was a difficult start. After hearing a bit of background and looking at a few pieces of artwork, they became more interested.  I should mention that Megan is very interested in art. She has taken ART at school for the past 2 years. She even had a little art class after school several years ago. Katie has not shown as much interest. Both girls draw and doodle and laugh a my stick figures. Their skills are obviously from Daddy’s genetic makeup. I mean the drawing not the laughing, well, maybe that too.

Let the artwork begin!

“When you paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field, or whatever. Instead think, ‘Here is a a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow,’ and paint it just as it looks.”–Claude Monet

Many of the Impressionists liked to paint en plein air or in the “open air” or “outdoors”. We decided to follow this example. Never mind that it is 100˚ and humid!

Katie thought she was finished after her “45 minutes of torture”. I had to explain to her that she was not.  Megan was ultra excited!

We scouted the yard for pretty flowers to paint. The hydrangeas were the first choice. Then we realized the day lilies were in the shade. I could tell Katie was apprehensive to do any painting. I encouraged them to choose different flowers to paint, hoping that would eliminate a bit of competition.


Palettes were prepared and the painting got started!

There was much contemplation on how to go about starting.


The activity suggested using short, choppy, unblended strokes of color. This technique was to mimic Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise. These dabs and dashes only blend together when seen from a distance. We did lots of “Mom hold the painting in the middle of the yard while I stand on the edge of the yard” views before they thought the paintings were finished.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

Fire on a Stick by Megan Bayer

Impression, Dawn of Spring by Katie Bayer

They were very pleased with their artwork, so was I! We decided to hang them “on the line” or at eye-level in our “Salon”.

The Salon in Paris was a large art exhibition that lasted two months each year. Juried artwork was hung “on the line”- which was the prime location, “skyed”- hung high above eye level where it could hardly be seen, or rejected with a big red R stamped on the back.

It was lots of fun! I even overheard Megan say, “This was the best day ever!” Both girls gushed with excitement when Chip came home. They couldn’t wait to tell about their paintings and the Salon.

In the Salon


Part II