Homeschool Art Lesson: Giotto di Bondone

“Motorcycle” by the seven-year-old using egg tempura paint

This is the first art lesson we did using the book Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children.  I’m not going into great detail about the artist or how to do the activity because you can get that from the book, but rather I want to show you what my children did and what we learned from it.

As I wrote in my main post about art, 1st Grade Art Explorations, I have wanted to introduce some artists and their techniques to my son. We do a lot of art and building around here, and my son is developing his creativity tremendously from the way we homeschool. I hope these occasional formal lessons will give him more to think about as he continues on with his own creative work.

Giotto di Bondone lived from 1266-1337. He was an artist of the Italian Renaissance.  As the book tells us, “Many paintings of Giotto’s time were made with egg tempera paint on special panels of wood. There were no art stores, so each artist had to make paint by grinding minerals, clay, berries, or even insects into fine powder and mixing this pigment with egg yolk and water.”

Painting by the four-year-old using egg tempura paint

I like Discovering Great Artists because it tells just a little information about each artist, which is all my seven-year-old and four-year-old care to know! (So for older kids who want to delve further into an artist’s life – this is not the book for them.) My seven-year-old does seem to enjoy looking at art by each of the artists on the Internet. (The book does not provide examples of the artists’ work, but there are plenty to be found online.)

We didn’t mix egg yolk and insects, which would have been quite interesting! We followed the book’s instructions and used egg and colored chalk.  I thought the colors turned out quite nice, and we were all pleased with our artwork.

My seven-year-old is prone to outbursts when his art doesn’t look exactly like what he sees in his head. While he was painting his motorcycle, he messed up the back wheel.  I have been trying to encourage him to turn mistakes into something else and also realize that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Someday I may tackle this issue in a post of its own, but for now I’ll say that I think perfectionist kids need a lot of encouragement, and they need to be shown how other people have made mistakes and work through them, but they also just need time to mature too.

Painting by an adult using egg tempura paint

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