Monet with chalk and tempera

Monet paintings are always popular.  For several years, our Denver Botanic Gardens boasted a Monet garden, complete with water lilies and the Japanese bridge.  It was a beautiful, quiet place to sketch and paint.  My daughters and I spent many happy times there. Many of my students were also able to visit the Monet gardens.  Monet is an artist whose “palette” is easy for students to understand.  By palette, I mean a selection of colors.  He kept a clear palette, never muddy, with a lot of light colors and white.  By using white tempera and pastel chalk in this lesson, students were able to keep a clear palette.Together, we looked at Impressionism, primarily Monet.  Students were able to produce some interesting looking “brush strokes” with the moistened chalk.   Students created some beautiful “watery” paintings.  When dry, the paintings have an impasto look and appear more painting-like than chalk-like. The kids loved working with it.

PS – be prepared for mess!

Our objectives

▪  Vividly communicate a deep understanding of Impressionism

▪  Accurately reflect upon learning

▪  Explore color mixing and blending of chalk (or pastels) – work with tints of colors – learn a little about color planning (complimentary colors – related colors

▪  Find beauty in nature

The Big Questions:

Who is Claude Monet?

What is Impressionism?

What are tints?

What is a color plan?

Resources & Materials

Poster images of Impressionism and artwork by Monet

“Le Pont Japonais a Giverny Art Styles” by Claude Monet,

Claude Monet “Garden at Giverny” Print 

“Impression Sunrise” by Claude Monet

Calendar Prints of Impressionism – various artists – post card prints Landscapes and garden photographs

Claude Monet Water Lilies Wall Calendar

Monet’s Passion-The Gardens at Giverny Wall Calendar

Monet Paintings: 24 Art Cards

Video: Linnea in Monet’s Garden

Greg Percy’s Songs in the Key of Art Volume 4 “Monet’s Mom”

Supplies: Oatmeal paper or 12″ x 18″  -any textured paper will work, pencils, colored chalk pastels, white tempera paint, plastic dishes, water cups, and brushes.


•View video and discuss artwork

•Display posters and discuss Impressionism – Show PowerPoint®

•Review/demo Instructions on PowerPoint®

•Choose what you will paint.  Here are some ideas: Garden scene, water lilies, the Japanese garden, and water garden.

•Draw a rough draft on your paper.  Keep it “coloring book simple”.

•Have several cups of white tempera on table. Each child may have his/her own water cup

•Paint area (fist size/baseball size) with white tempera

•Dip chalk into water dish and draw into the wet paint. If paint dries – brush on a bit more.

•Blend some related colors together for interest within shapes.  Notice what happens to the colors as they mix with the paint.

*Have a class critique and “show opening” when all are finished. Display all work and admire the beauty.

Suggestion: Have a student panel select the ones they like best and make cards for Mother’s Day. They make a wonderful gift. Staff members will buy several sets, as will parents. Make them to order and have parent volunteers help with the printing.


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