Tea Time with Great Artists

Have you tried Tea Time yet?  Brew a hot pot of tea (or mix up some cold lemonade), light some candles, read some books together, eat a delicious snack, and then, if you are inspired, try an art activity. Tea Time can be a special memory making time in your homeschool.

Tea Time with Great Artists (would make a fabulous homeschool co-op class!) from Walking by the Way

Another way to incorporate Tea Time is to facilitate a class at your local co-op. If you don’t have co-op, find a few families and take turns hosting Tea Times. Once you try it, you will probably be hooked! It won’t be hard to start a Tea Time with Great Artists class because we already have ideas ready for you; check the artists list below to find biography information, book title suggestions, snack suggestions, and art project ideas.

Artists –

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

Raphael (1483-1520)

John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)

John James Audubon 1785-1851

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Van Gogh (1853-1890)

Grandma Moses (1860 –1961)

Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944)

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

Paul Klee (1879 – 1940)

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 – 1986)

 Norman Rockwell (1894 –1978)

Alexander Calder (1898 – 1976)

Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967)

Jackson Pollock (1912 –1956)

Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997)

Andy Warhol (1928 –1987)

Enjoy learning about these amazing artists while at the same time inspiring yours!

Tea Time with Rene Magritte

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Photo from renemagritte.org

Rene Magritte was born in Belgium on November 21, 1898.  He attended art school when he was in his late teens, but didn’t begin to paint in the surrealist style for which he is known until his twenties.  When he was starting out as an artist, he took on other jobs to make ends meet, like designing wallpaper and making advertisements.  Magritte and his wife, Georgette, moved to Paris in 1927 to work with other Surrealist artists, but he didn’t get along with the others well and eventually they moved back to Belgium.  Magritte passed away in 1967.

Books We Read

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If you’ve read any of my previous tea time posts, you know I’m a big fan of Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know…series.  These kid-friendly biographies are a great way to introduce artists and give a good overview of their style.  There are also some great picture books out there based on the works of different artists and I like to share those when I can, too!

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Magritte’s Marvelous Hat is a really cool book that includes several overlays that change the pictures.

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The first view…

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And then when the overlay is moved, it looks like this!  My kids thought this was pretty cool–and with some overhead transparencies, it might be fun to try your own!

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In Dinner at Magritte’s a young boy visits his neighbor, Magritte, who has Salvador Dali over for a visit.  The pictures in this book pay homage to some of the artist’s paintings, like the one above and this painting.  My kids enjoyed looking at the details in all of the illustrations and trying to figure out which of Magritte’s paintings they matched.

Projects We Tried

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The first project we tried was this fun positive/negative space activity from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational.

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My kids really enjoyed making these self portraits (inspired by this painting).

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I liked the idea this blogger had to recreate “The Future of Statues“, but I wasn’t sure about where I could store two styrofoam heads, so we improvised and made our faces from Model Magic and then painted them.

If you’re looking for a fun artist to really draw your kids in, Magritte is a great one to study!

Tea Time with Roy Lichtenstein

Roy_LichtensteinRoy Lichtenstein by Eric Koch

Roy Lichtenstein was born October 27, 1923 in New York City.  As a child, he was interested in science and art, and after studying art in college, he became an art teacher.  At this time, Abstract Expressionism was very popular and much of his early work was in this style, but one day he made a large painting of a cartoon with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.  Not only was this painting very different from his previous work, but he tried very hard to make it look like a printed image instead of a painting, even going so far as to paint Ben-Day dots on the picture.

Lichtenstein made more paintings based on comic books and advertisements and took his work to an art dealer.  Right around this same time, an artist named Andy Warhol also brought his work to the same dealer, who realized this was a big change for the art world!  Lichtenstein’s work was not well received at first because most people didn’t understand Pop Art and what he was trying to do.  As time passed, though, people began to see that these weren’t just copies of comic book panels; they were original creations that were interesting and fun to look at.  By the time he passed away in 1997, Roy Lichtenstein was a very successful artist.

Lichtenstein BooksThere are some great books on Roy Lichtenstein that are geared toward kids.  We enjoyed:

3We tried making comic balloons following the plans at Kids Artists.  The words took a fair amount of time, so we did this project over two sessions.

4We made Lichtenstein-inspired landscapes based on this activity from Rainy Day Mum.  Instead of dot markers, though, we used pencil erasers in ink to make nice, uniform dots.

5My favorite project was the Lichtenstein Style Portraits from Art Projects for Kids.  There is a template there to download, so you just draw the picture and color in the dots.  It is time consuming–you can see I never got mine completed!–but it was fun to do.

6This is the one my five year old did!

If you’re looking for more project ideas, try this low prep activity at Art History Kids.  All you have to do is print the page and go!

7I always like to take my kids to see some of the artist’s work in person if I can, so when we studied Roy Lichtenstein we took a trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  If you are ever in the area, this museum is full of amazing artists.  We love it!

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And if you’re not near any museums with Lichtenstein’s work, don’t worry!  My son came back from the restroom at Red Robin one day and informed me that there was a Lichtenstein in the back hallway and sure enough, there was!  I’ve made a point to look at every location we’ve visited and I’ve always found at least one, so take a lunch field trip and see if you can find one!

Tea Time with Paul Klee

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2 Paul_Klee_1911Paul Klee was born on December 18, 1879 in Switzerland to a music teacher and a singer.  Throughout his childhood his parents encouraged his musical abilities, but as a teenager her decided he wanted to focus on visual art.  He went to art school in Germany and began his study of color, which he worked on for most of his career.  He used many different kinds of media and materials, sometimes in the same piece, and his style is hard to classify because he mixed so many different ideas and techniques.  Paul Klee passed away on June 29, 1940, leaving behind thousands of works of art from his career.

3 cat birdIn addition to the Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series biography, we used The Cat and the Bird, which is a cute story based on this work by Paul Klee.

4 dreaming picturesWe also used Dreaming Pictures: Paul Klee, which shares about several different works from Klee’s career.

5 klee 1Art Projects for Kids is always such a great resource for our artist studies and we used this activity to create our own works of art based on this piece.

6I checked out A Child’s Introduction to Art from our library and found another fun project.  After looking at this painting, we drew simple faces and then covered our papers with pieces of tissue paper, which we dampened and let sit.

7Unfortunately, when we peeled off the tissue paper we had very light patches of color instead of bold blocks!  I used watercolor paper, so I’m not sure if this was why, or if the tissue paper was designed to not fade, or what, so you may want to experiment a bit before trying this, or maybe watercolor blocks of color over the paper instead.  At least the kids enjoyed the process!

8We used Art Projects for Kids again for this project based on this piece.

9At first, the color didn’t look very impressive, but once the black paper was behind it, it looked quite vivid!

10The last project we did was so simple (thanks again to Art Projects for Kids!) and would be great for kids of all ages.  After we looked at Klee’s Harmony paintings, we printed the grid and made our own!

If you haven’t done an artist study before, Paul Klee would be a perfect artist to begin with!  His paintings are so interesting and provide many chances to explore line and shape and color.  This is one of my favorite artist studies we’ve done!

Tea Time with Grant Wood

tea time grant woodGrant WoodGrant Wood was born February 13, 1891 in Iowa.  He enjoyed art as a boy and when he graduated from high school he took art classes and even taught art in a one room schoolhouse.  Wood was known for his attention to detail and often took a long time to complete jobs because he wanted them done a certain way, but almost every job he took had some way for him to be creative.  During World War I, his job in the army was painting camouflage on tanks and cannons!  After the war, Wood studied in Europe and eventually combined some of the things he learned there from the older artists and their works with his own ideas to come up with his own style.  He painted the people and landscapes he knew so well from Iowa, and this type of art was called regionalism.  From 1934 to 1941, Wood taught painting at the University of Iowa.  He passed away on February 12, 1942 from pancreatic cancer.  He is best known for his painting American Gothic.

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I always love to read the Getting to Know the Artist biographies by Mike Venezia because they do a good job of sharing the basics of the artist’s life and the funny illustrations always keep my kids interested.  When we studied Grant Wood we also enjoyed reading Artist in Overalls: The Life of Grant Wood.  This book has several short chapters and plenty of wonderful examples of Wood’s work, so we read a chapter a week over the month we studied him.

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You might also want to check out Grant Wood: The Artist in the Hayloft!

My kids and I did two different projects during our artist study.  Great American Artists for Kids (an amazing resource!) gave us the idea to make our own versions of American Gothic.

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First we drew our own figures posed like the people in the painting.  This is a drawing of our lizard and our dog, just in case you couldn’t tell!  ; )  Then we cut them out and glued them onto a printed picture of the house from the painting.

animal gothic 2Then we trimmed the picture and put it in a mat to frame it.

We also tried a fun landscape project from Harrington Harmonies.

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My son enjoyed experimenting with different colors, while my daughter liked making different patterns.  We all thought the watercolor pencils were fun to work with!

Grant Wood’s work is some of the most recognizable American art, so he is a great artist to share with your children!