second nav

Discovering Great Artists Handout

Discovering Great Artists – Workshop Handout

by MaryAnn F. Kohl

Introduce art techniques of the great masters to children through easy art experiences that emphasize the process of art. Children will become comfortable with art, will experience art styles and techniques, and open their minds to art appreciation at their own levels.
Copyright © 2015 Bright Ring Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Paul Gaugin 1848-1903 France: Post-Impressionist
Gaugin used color in entirely new ways in his paintings. He might paint a yellow sky, orange grass, and red mountains. His paintings make you feel different because the colors are surprising.

  • Surprising Colors: Draw with crayon, then cover with bright paint and smear with a spatula. Tape edges for easy frame.

2. Carl Linnaeus 1707-1778 Sweden: Naturalist
When Linnaeus was a child, he loved to study the plants in his father’s garden. He became a doctor and scientist of great fame.

  • Botanical Illustrations: Draw what is actually seen in detail. Label parts.

3. Henri Matisse 1869 – 1954 France: Post-Impressionist
Matisse painted with strange shapes and bright colors that in his day were thought shocking. He was called a fauvist (which means wild beast in French) because his work was so wild and expressive. He is well known for his paper cut-outs in bright colors.

  • Story Color Collage: Cut shapes from colored paper and paste on black.

4. Piet Mondrian 1872-1944 Holland: Abstract
Mondrian wanted to create pictures to express thoughts and feelings – in simple and perfect harmony – created entirely with straight lines and simple colors. He used primarily geometric designs that did not have any particular subject or name.

  • Straight Line Design: Stick colored masking tape to a cardboard square.

5. Paul Klee 1879 – 1940 Switzerland: Expressionist
Paul Klee worked at the kitchen table in his small apartment while his wife gave piano lessons, so the sizes of his watercolors and etchings were small like the table on which he worked. Klee was deeply interested in imitating the art of children, capturing their creativity in his own paintings. He sometimes incorporated hieroglyphics in his works as well as images that make viewers smile.

  • One Line Design #1: Paint with watercolors. Then outline shapes with pen.
  • One Line Design #2: Draw a picture in one long line, without lifting the pen from the paper.

6. Pablo Picasso 1881 – 1973 Spain: Cubist
Picasso may be the most recognized artist of all time, once a child prodigy and forever a genius, remembered for his style of art called cubism, paintings whose outcomes resemble a pice of broken glass.

  • Fractured Friend: Cut and paste a portrait drawing into a design.

7. Jackson Pollock 1912 – 1956 USA: Abstract-Expressionist
Jackson Pollock wanted his paintings to be different from photography. He created “action painting” which included throwing and spattering paint on a large canvas.

  • Action Spatter: Spatter paint from large brushes onto paper.

8. Salvadore Dali 1904 – 1985 Spain: Surrealist
Dali called his surrealist paintings “hand-painted dream photographs”, artworks filled with outrageous and impossible ideas. He often mixed photographs and collage with oil painting.

  • Dream Photograph: Cut and paste magazine pictures into a drawing.

9. Alberto Giacometti 1901 – 1966 Switzerland: Surrealist
Giacometti created shocking, strange, and surreal sculptures from sticks, paper, wood, wire, and string. He had a style of surprising viewers with ideas apart from everyday reality.

  • Sticks ‘n Straws: Sculpt with sticks, straws, and masking tape.

10. Edgar Degas 1834 – 1917 France: Impressionist
Degas studied movement of his subjects and then tried to show that movement in his art. He is well known for his paintings of dancers, horseraces, and town life.

  • Stencil in Motion: Show movement by repeating a pattern.

11. Claude Monet 1840 – 1926 France: Impressionist
Claude Monet painted with short brush strokes and dabbles and splashes of pretty colors, catching light and reflection in his work.

  • Dabble in Paint: Paint with watercolors on wet paper.

12. René Magritte 1898 – 1967 Belgium: Surrealist
“Sur” means “beyond” in French. Surrealist artists like Magritte created artworks that were beyond reality. Magritte’s works show remarkable images like a painting of a person’s eye filled with a cloudy sky or melting snake-like candles crawling on a beach.

  • Giant Tennis Shoes: Created an imaginary world out of an everyday tennis shoe drawing.

13. Vincent Van Gogh 1853 – 1890 Dutch: Impressionist
Van Gogh tried to express his thoughts and emotions in his paintings, often working days without stopping, even forgetting to eat. In his short life he painted over 800 paintings.

  • Impasto: Spread thick homemade paint with a craft stick instead of using a brush.


It's the process, not the product!