Ted's teaching tips

5th February 1999 at 00:00
The Big Picture, see page 16

This Monet painting will appeal to children as much as adults, and it will provoke interesting discussion, as well as stimulate activity.

Monet Why is Monet in the news (exhibition in London)? Who was he (French Impressionist painter, 1840-1926)? How does his painting differ from that of other artists, and resemble that of other Impressionists? Study paintings by Monet, Manet, Constable, Turner.

The picture

Look carefully at the brushstrokes. What do you see (horizontal strokes on the ground; following the line in the haystack; diagonal skysunlight brushstrokes into the haystack)? What about the colour mix (blue and green for dark areas; pink, red and yellow for light areas)? Look at the composition - sky and ground; haystack left, trees on the right.

Painting

Paint a picture with the "impasto" effect (thick paint sticking up from the surface). A cheap method is to mix powder paint with PVA glue (keep washing your brush!), using thicker, grainier paper. Paint a scene with backlighting in Monet's style (try a thatched cottage, tree, or building with the sun rising or setting; or put an object in the classroom with a light behind it). Experiment with the characteristic short directional brushstrokes and mixing of colours.

Writing

Describe the picture. Think of words that match or capture the painting (warm, soothing, dusky, matted, ruralrustic, glowing, contrast, sweep, texture, evocative).

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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