Can’t See the Artists for the Trees!

Today we got a little head start on our artist study for this upcoming term.  Each of our school years consists of three terms, and each term we study half a dozen works from one particular famous artist.  Last year we learned about Fra Angelico, Diego Velasquez, and Edgar Degas.  This year we will study Emily Carr, Vincent Van Gogh, and John Singer Sargent.  It’s not so much about learning lots of details about the artist’s life as it is an endeavor to appreciate beauty and familiarize ourselves with these famous pieces.  We are building a library of beautiful pictures in our mind’s eye.  

Last year I followed the artist rotation at Ambleside Online, but this year I wanted to incorporate a Canadian artist.  Also, the material we use for Language Arts actually includes picture study as well so I chose one artist from C-Bear’s English book and one from Boo’s.  Every other week, the girls will get a new print to add to their art albums.  These albums have already become a treasure to each of them.  They love looking back over the paintings they received last year.  

So, back to the sneak peek at our artist for first term this year.  I had borrowed this little video from the library by The National Film Board of Canada called “I Can Make Art Like Emily Carr” and it is due back to the library today so I decided to just go ahead and watch it with the kids this morning.  It’s only about 10 minutes long, and it follows a group of children as they learn a little bit about Emily Carr and try to imitate some of her techniques themselves, especially as it pertains to the beautiful forests and trees of British Columbia that held such a special place in her heart and her art.  The girls enjoyed learning about her many pets, including dogs, cats, a parrot, and even a monkey named Woo!  The video briefly mentioned how she was particularly inspired by The Group of Seven which elicited lots of questions from Boo about who they were and what they did (which, much to my chagrin, I did have to “Google”…I really knew nothing beyond the fact that they were a group of famous Canadian artists).  Apparently they were a group of Canadian landscape painters (also known as the Algonquin School) during the 1920’s and early 30’s.  Then that led to a discussion on what landscape painting is.  It was a fun morning, and of course, inspired some tree drawing here too!  Even Belle and Little Mister put crayons to paper and got in on the fun!   


2 thoughts on “Can’t See the Artists for the Trees!

    1. Her name is definitely famous in Canada, but wouldn’t be well known in the States. I’m thinking a lot of her paintings would maybe be reminiscent of the redwoods in California since she was painting just further north up the coast. Glad to “introduce” you. 🙂


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