Packet 4. Claude Monet—Impressionist

Packet 4. Claude Monet—Impressionist
1. Impression Sunrise
2. Port of Le Havre
3. Le Bassin d’ Argenteuil
4. The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil
5. The Artist’s Garden at Giverny
6. Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge
7. Waterlilies
8. Poplars
It used to be that if you wanted to be successful as an Artist, you would submit samples of
your paintings to the Official Salon, in Paris. There, official “art experts” could make or break your
artistic career by accepting or refusing your work. Almost the only way an artist could become well
known in those days was to have their paintings shown in the great Salon. People came to the Salon
from all over the world, to see what the best artists in the world were doing.
Starting in 1863, the Salon des Refuses, in Paris, showed the work of artists who had been
rejected by the official Salon. People found these artist’s rough painting techniques and haphazard
colored patches alarming. In 1874, Claude Monet exhibited a painting called Impression, Sunrise
with some other “refused” artist friends. The work was criticized for being “just an impression,” or
an unfinished picture. This was meant to be an insult but the artists adopted the word as a name
for their group and called themselves “IMPRESSIONISTS”. Monet became one of the greatest
painters of this art movement.
Make sure ALL 8 pictures are returned to the Packet Carrier after your presentation is finished.
Impression Sunrise
People in Paris during Monet’s time thought paintings should be clear and sharp, like
a photograph might look today. They felt art should be a mirrored picture of what a person
would see in real life. They also used a lot of dark, moody colors.
Monet and his artist friends were more interested in how pretty something looked
when the sunlight was on it. They liked to paint ordinary things like a boat on a lake, rocks
by the ocean or haystacks in a field. They painted things outside in nature.
Monet’s style of painting was called “Impressionism”. It used to be that if you
wanted to be successful as an Artist, you would submit samples of your paintings to the
official Salon, in Paris. There, official “art experts” could make or break your artistic career
by accepting or refusing your work. Starting in 1863, the Salon des Refuses, in Paris,
showed the work of artists who had been rejected by the official Salon. In 1874, Claude
Monet exhibited a painting called Impression, Sunrise. It was very different from the
artistic style most people of that day were used to. An art critic called most of the Salon des
Refuses artwork “impressionism”, meaning the paintings were only partly finished, just a
rough “impression” of the finished pictures they should have been. He coined the word
based on Monet’s title for his sunrise painting. This was meant to be an insult but the artists
adopted the title as a name for their group.
Although some people didn’t like Monet‘s impressionistic pictures, he kept on
painting them. He felt it was important to show scenes of everyday life. He tried to make
the colors, shadows and light as real as possible. But the details of his paintings just weren’t
as clear as other artists. If you take a very close look at one of Monet’s paintings, it just
looks like a bunch of colorful brush strokes or “blobs”. When you step away, the painting
will start to make sense. (Pass some paintings around. Have students look at them very
closely, then pull the pictures farther away).
Project Idea
 Draw and paint a Seascape using a cotton swab to create small “dabs” or “blobs” of
color. Paint tints and shades of blues and greens in the water. The paint shouldn’t be
“brushed”. Use the cotton swab to “blot” the color shades closely together. Add a few
lavender dabs too. Use white and lighter tints of blue for the sky. Create a sunrise by
adding some orange and yellow tints.
Port of Le Havre
About the Artist
When Claude Monet was little, his family moved from Paris to the Seaport town of Le Havre. At
Le Havre, ships from all over the world stopped to pick up supplies before their long trips. Monet’s father
owned a store there that sold supplies to the sailors and shipping companies.
A well-known artist of those days lived in Le Havre. His name was Eugene Boudin (boo-DAN).
He convinced Claude that he should try painting. Boudin had some new and interesting ideas about
painting that Monet liked. He thought artists should paint outside, not in stuffy studios the way most artists
of Monet’s time did. Monet loved the idea of painting outdoors. Monet experienced colors and light, as he
had never seen them before. From then on, the outdoors became his studio. Despite the weather
conditions, Monet hauled his canvasses through fields, sand, wind, snow and rain. Once Claude was even
swept underwater while he was painting a Seascape.
In 1862, Monet left Le Havre to study art in Paris. Who knows, if Monet’s father hadn’t decided to
move to Le Havre and Monet had never met Boudin, maybe this strange new style of art
(IMPRESSIONISM) would never have become so popular!
Suggested Dialogue
Look at the water. Can you see the “blobs” of color?
What colors does Monet use to paint the water?
How many boats can you see in the water?
There are quite a few sailboats but can you see the larger tall masted ships? They are farther behind
the sailboats. They are in the right MIDDLE GROUND of the painting. Their sails are rolled up on the
Can you find the buildings in this picture? They are in the MIDDLE GROUND also. There is a
building on the far right and many other buildings on the far-left MIDDLE GROUND.
In the FOREGROUND on the left is the shore.
Can you see the people? They are only lines of color yet we can tell they are people. You can see ladies
with large hats and some with umbrellas. It is a sunny day so most of the people are casting a shadow on
the ground behind them.
Can you find any of these shadows? One special thing that Monet did different from other artists was to
use color, instead of black paint, to represent shadows. He created his shadow effects using
Project Ideas
 Paint a picture of sailboats on water.
 On the top portion of horizontal paper, use “blobs” of white and blue paint to create an impressionist
sky. On the bottom section, use blue, green, violet (cool colors) “blobs” of paint to create impressionist
water. Make sure that your horizon line is either higher or lower than the center of your picture. Swirl
your paintbrush to create MOVEMENT in the water and the sky. When the paint dries, glue white
triangles on the HORIZON LINE to create sailboats on the water. Cut rectangles for buildings out of
several colors of paper. Windows for the buildings could be glued on using gray, blue, white or yellow
 Create a color wheel so the kids can readily identify complementary colors. Explain that colors
opposite on the wheel are COMPLEMENTARY.
Le Bassin d’ Argenteuil
Painted 1874
If you look very closely at some of Monet’s paintings, you can hardly tell WHAT he
painted. It just looks like a bunch of colorful “blobs” of paint. There are usually several
colors of paint in an area that looks (from a distance) like it is only one color.
But if you step back a little distance from the picture, it all starts to make sense. The
blobs blend together into one color and you can see the picture. (Pass painting around and
have the kids hold it close to their eyes and look at it and then have them look from a
Claude Monet loved the way colors reflect in water and the special way that water
makes clouds and the sky look. Many of his paintings are pictures of water. Boats, oceans,
ponds and lakes were some of his favorite subjects.
Suggested Dialogue
What are those “blobs” of color in the right FOREGROUND? grass, bushes, flowers
on the edge of the water
What do you see in the BACKGROUND? The shoreline, trees, a building
What is do you see in the MIDDLEGROUND? Water and sailboats
Project Idea
 Make a watercolor and raindrop picture in honor of Claude Monet’s love of water and
its reflections. This project will only work if it is a rainy day. Have kids paint an entire
piece of white construction paper with watercolor. They could paint their paper entirely
blue or get a little impressionistic using other COOL colors (green, purple, and
turquoise), even adding a little pink. There shouldn’t be any pattern to these colors, just
make sure they cover the ENTIRE page quickly. After the papers are completely
covered with color, let them dry. When they are completely dry, take the painted papers
outside and lay them in a safe place to be rained on. If it is raining hard enough, just
walk the kids outside, with their papers in their hands, for a few seconds. The pages
shouldn’t be soaking wet, just add some drops of rain. Bring the papers inside and
sprinkle the wet drops with salt. Set aside to dry. After they are dry, brush the salt off
and discover the patterns it has created. If your school has a die cut machine with a die
of an umbrella, cut some out ahead, in assorted colors, and have the kids glue an
umbrella on their raindrop designs. You could also cut out plain white umbrellas and let
the kids decorate them before gluing them on their paper.
If it’s sunny, use a spray bottle for the above project.
The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil
Painted 1880
Claude Monet organized the color in his gardens the same way he organized color in
his paintings. His gardens were filled with bright, brilliant color, just like his paintings.
Project Ideas
 Have students draw and color or paint a picture of a flower garden. For younger
students, you might draw some assorted flower shapes and leaves on the chalkboard, for
inspiring ideas.
 Make flower gardens using color crayons to draw the stems and tissue paper for the top.
Tissue squares could be wrapped around a pencil eraser and glued in a three dimensional
style. Tissue could be torn in small, more abstract shapes (resembling “blobs” of
impressionist color) and painted with liquid starch, or watered down Elmer’s glue, to lay
flat. Blobs of color, on top of a green stem with leaves, will create impressionist flowers
The Artist’s Garden at Giverny
Painted 1900
Monet lived most of his life in debt. Finally, in 1890, he was finally financially
stable enough to buy the home in Giverny (Jzee-ver-nee) that he was living in. The
beautiful gardens he built there are still being taken care of today and if you ever go to
France, you can walk through them and see what Monet saw when he was inspired to paint
Project Ideas
 Make flower gardens with cut construction paper glued on a background.
 For younger kids, make a single cupcake wrapper flower. Have kids cut a stem and
leaves from green construction paper and glue to a blue background. Flowers could be a
few cupcake wrappers, glued on top of each other (show them how to make it fluffy by
flattening the bottom wrappers). Glue on a green center or a Daffodil type flower, with a
yellow sun shape glued above the stem, and a cupcake wrapper glued in the center.
Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge
In 1890, Monet also bought a tract of marshland across the road from his Giverny
(Jvee-ver-nee) farmhouse. A small stream flowed through this land. Monet hired workmen
to divert the stream and construct a pond, spanned at one end by a Japanese bridge with a
trellis over it. He planted weeping willow trees, bamboo and iris around the pond. Clusters
of lily pads floated on the water. Some types of the lily pads in his pond were very rare and
unusual. Claude Monet hired an army of gardeners to care for his beautiful gardens.
Project Idea
 Have students draw or paint a Japanese Bridge picture. Point out the curve of the bridge
over the water. Point out how the railing of the bridge follows the same curved line as
the base of the bridge. Point out the slightly curved rectangle shapes across the bridge
and under the railing.
Painted in 1903
For most of the last 25 years of Claude Monet’s life, he worked exclusively on a
series of paintings of the waterlilies. Some of his waterlily paintings were painted on bright
sunshine days and some of them were on cloudy, misty, rainy and even foggy days. Monet
could create all kinds of weather with the colors of paint that he used. Many of the
paintings he painted in Giverny are his most beautiful and famous.
Waterlily flowers are beautiful but they only last for one day. Before he went out to
paint his waterlilies, Monet would call his children and the gardeners to come and remove
all the dead flowers and leaves. He felt the waterlilies needed to look their best for him to
paint them correctly.
Monet’s Waterlily paintings are some of the most beautiful and famous paintings that
he ever created. The Portland Art Museum has a large waterlilly painting in its exhibit.
You can ask to see it if you visit the museum with your parents!
As Monet painted his water lily garden, he kept making his pictures larger and larger.
Monet had a dream to create a very large round room where people could be surrounded
with his water garden. The Louvre Museum, in Paris, agreed to build this room for him.
Monet gave the museum specific rules to follow for the room. They had to glue his
watercolor paintings to the curved walls and the museum could never put any other artwork
in this room. Monet also told them that they could never change the room. Some of the
paintings for this room are over forty feet wide.
Monet continued to work on his last canvases of waterlilies until he died, in his house at
Giverny, on December 5, 1926.
During a walk in the neighborhood of Giverny (Jzee-ver-nee), Monet was attracted
by a magnificent stand of poplars growing in ordered sequence along the winding Epte
River. After he had begun to paint them, he found out they were about to be cut and sold at
auction. He appealed, fruitlessly, to the mayor for a postponement of the sale. The problem
was finally solved, somewhat extravagantly but with characteristic originality. Monet
sought out the most probable buyer and agreed to reimburse any amount he paid over the
figure he had planned to bid, on condition that he keep bidding, and that the trees be left
standing until the series of paintings was completed.
Suggested Dialogue
There are many lines in this painting.
How many vertical lines can you find?
The green shoreline is a wide horizontal line.
Can you find a diagonal line?
Project Ideas
 Paint a row of thin poplar trunks, spaced evenly apart and completely to the top edge of
the paper, with brown paint. A green shoreline could be sponged in with reflected poplar
trunks painted below. The leaves of the poplar trees could be sponged in along the
trunk. Leaves could be Spring colors. Sponge dabs of dark green first and dab light
green next. Let dabs of both shades show through. A third value of green sponged in
could make the trees even more interesting.
 For Fall coloring, sponge warm colors (red, orange, and yellow). Use the darkest value
first (red), then the medium value and the lightest value (yellow) last, to highlight.
 Cool colors (blue, green, and purple) would also look nice. Begin with the darkest value
(purple), then the green and highlight with the blue.