We love history in our house. We to love to read historical fiction, dress up, cook up old recipes, and sing historical songs.
We also like to study art as we move through time in our history studies.
One year we got a collection American Art posters from the National Gallery of Art to review. This was a wonderful combination of artists. And not just paintings. There was a poster of Native American baskets and another of architecture.
My favorite painting was of Paul Revere with his silver creations. I love that painting! We passed out silver pieces that I had inherited from my grandmother and talked about Paul Revere as an artist.
As time went on, we wanted to dig a little deeper into certain artists. We decided to choose a few like Gilbert Stuart, John James Audubon, and Norman Rockwell.
Elements of Art & Principles of Design
We decided to choose one artist for each time period and focus on several of his paintings.
First we had a lesson on how to enjoy paintings. Everyone in the family shared whether they liked the painting or not and why. This was fun! We ended up having some interesting discussions on that alone.
Next we strategically noticed color, line, shape, focal point, balance, and other aspects of the painting. We discussed those things.
In the process, I found some questions that worked great for getting my kids to think about the paintings.
I chose paintings and artists that are recognizable. For example, you will recognize James John Audubon's birds. They are still popular 200 years later. You will recognize portraits by Gilbert Stuart. Norman Rockwell and Winslow Homer painted everyday American life that folks embraced. Thomas Cole was impacted by the Second Great Awakening, as well as a very popular artist in his day.
We found so many paintings online that were public domain and we printed them on cardstock. This gave us paintings to touch and handle.
Resources for You
If you would like to use our method of studying American artists during U.S.A. History Class, you can!
Families Learn Together: American History Art Appreciation is available in print at Amazon and you can download an E-book of paintings to print on cardstock.
Or you can purchase the E-book on PayHip or Currclick. The E-book includes all the paintings you will need. I recommend printing them on cardstock.
Each lessons contains information on the artists and questions to answer and discuss together. I believe you will really like this collection of paintings.
Another thing you can do is make a list of artists from each time period and choose one or two to spend time on and explore his, or her, paintings.
Either way, consider adding art appreciation to your American history stories.
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