The kids and I have been studying Mary Cassatt in our Art History studies this year. Cassatt was heavily influenced by by the Impressionism movement, so I thought it would be fun for the kids and I to try out a painting project in the style ourselves!

**This post does contain affiliate links. Feel free to read my affiliate disclosure here.*

Teach Your Kids to Paint like the Impressionists

While I have some experience with painting, I really was unsure of where to start with my young elementary age students. I could show them examples of Impressionistic style paintings, but I wanted to choose a project that they would think was fun and simple. I have to tell you up front, this project didn’t work out perfectly. But I still highly recommend it!

As I was searching for project ideas, I came across this video…

I loved the idea of starting with a photograph and using it as a template. I showed the video to my kids and we discussed how the artist used curved-line strokes and surprising colors. We talked a little about light and shadows and I gave everyone a pallette with with mostly primary colors and a skin color that I helped them to mix up. I printed out photographs of themselves on cardstock to use as templates. I didn’t want them to be overwhelmed, so I only printed the photographs in about 4.5X6 sizes.

The results were fun…and a little funny…

We could definitely all use a lot more practice before calling ourselves Impressionists!

I think if you are only working with one or two students at a time, you could probably help to give each child a little more guidance. I really let my kids do their own thing and a couple of them, especially the youngest, went a little off-lesson! But it was still a really fun project and I think it taught the kids an important lesson. Before we tried to paint like Impressionists, I think the kids really just thought of Impressionism as “messy-painting”. However, after trying it out for ourselves we all realized that this style requires a lot of technique and skill.

Finally, I asked my oldest daughter to watch the video and try out the project. She didn’t use the curved-line technique in the video, but I did think her piece turned out to look even more like a Cassatt!

For more ideas on teaching your kids about Impressionists, I’d recommend these…

Project Masterpiece: Mary Cassatt

It's always been a goal of mine to make art a priority in our homeschool, but I've struggled to find a curriculum that worked well for our family. I wanted an art program that would teach my students to: Study great artists Study and recognize famous pieces of art...

read more

Japanese Printmaking: Easy Art Project for Kids

I love it when our studies cause more than one school subject to meet each other. This year we have been intentional about studying both art history and geography in depth. It just so happened that as we were going through our six week Project Masterpiece study of...

read more

Silhouettes, Fancy Hats, and Mary Cassatt

At the beginning of the school year, I decided to make art study and art history a priority in our homeschool. We started with a six week unit study on one of my favorite artists, Mary Cassatt. Silhouettes, Fancy Hats, & Mary Cassatt As I was scrolling through...

read more