How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

Although, the idea of an artist study sounds overwhelming.  It is one of the most uncomplicated ways to study art that I have found. Now that you know the benefits and have found resources for art work, we can begin the fun part, How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying!

Picture Study with Narration:

Just look at the artwork. Here is the catch. You must really look. Because after several minutes, you will turn over the artwork and you and your child will attempt to remember every little detail you can.

As you initially start this practice, you may use leading questions such as the time of day/year, the story she/he thinks is happening, colors used, expressions, or background. Encourage your child to narrate to you every single thing she/he remembers about the painting. Allow children to do most of the talking. Repeat looking at the picture if necessary. The object of these lessons is that the pupils should learn how to appreciate art and how to really study and focus on a piece. Make it a game. It is fun!  And the best part is that it only takes minutes every week.

To see what Charlotte Mason had to say about picture study, it best to read her own words.

After a short story of the artist’s life and a few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the little pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it, taking in every detail. Then the picture is turned over and the children tell what they have seen,––a dog driving a flock of sheep along a road but nobody with the dog.

Ah, there is a boy lying down by the stream drinking. It is morning as you can see by the light so the sheep are being driven to pasture, and so on; nothing is left out, the discarded plough, the crooked birch, the clouds beautiful in form and threatening rain, there is enough for half an hour’s talk and memory in this little reproduction of a great picture and the children will know it wherever they see it, whether a signed proof, a copy in oils, or the original itself in one of our galleries. —Charlotte Mason Vol 6, p214

Copying helps you become a better you.

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.”
― Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

I can not emphasize this enough.  After coming out of a 4 year college, I viewed copying as plagiarism and a vile practice. (Now I am not advocating taking credit for someone’s work) Copying is still viewed as unoriginal.

What I learned as we studied the great artists of history, is that most of these artists would go to museums and sit and copy great artists themselves.  There is power in it. If you want to be great, emulate great. Read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon if you are interested in learning more about the power of copying.

“If you want to be great, emulate great.” –Christina Parker Brown

Picture Study with Photography:

Attempt to act out the picture/painting with your kids. My kids dressed in character for a study of Mary Cassatt and Norman Rockwell, and tried to mimic the paintings as closely as possible. In order for them to do this, they had to really study the paintings. I cherish the photographs I took of these studies. Check out Picture Study with Photography on my website to see more examples of pictures we have taken.

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

Mary Cassatt Artist Study

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

Norman Rockwell Artist Study

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

Picture Study by Copying: 

I used to buy cheap art supplies.  Don’t do this.  Get good paints, charcoals, pencils and even crayons. Not only do they work better, but it conveys a message to your children.  It teaches them respect. We must respect our paints, clay, pencils, etc.  We don’t leave brushes lying in a cup of water for hours or it will ruin the wood and bristles.  With plastic cheap-o brushes, it wouldn’t matter.

Have your child attempt to copy the painting in pencil at first. I found my kids would be frustrated perfectionists (sometimes to tears) and would not know where to begin. Try to focus on a small part of a picture. Attempt to paint or draw the picture yourself with your child. I found this is the best way to get your kids interested. It is fun! My youngest child has enjoyed using a light box to trace great works of art. This helped in not feeling so overwhelmed. It also improved her drawing ability.

Make a notebook, lapbook, or simple way to keep your child’s work. I liked to make a copy of the artwork with my child’s copy next to do it.  We use plastic page protectors in a simple notebook and keep a record of the art studies we do from year to year.  Be sure to date it and have your child sign it.  Explain all artists sign their work.

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

How To Do An Artist Study- Part 3 Narrating and Copying

(I discuss these in my new book, Alphabet Smash, a preschool curriculum for younger children.)

What we have found is that as you and your child grow accustomed to an artist, they will see and recognize the artist’s works in museums or any place where art is featured.  It still blows my minds how such a small thing influenced my children in such a powerful way.

Keeping it simple, Sonya Shafer describes in detail how to do a picture study.

The How To Do An Artist Study series is broken down into 3 parts:

  1. Part 1-Benefits of an Artist Study,
  2. Part 2-The Art & The Artist
  3. Part 3-Studying and Copying Art

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