What kid isn’t fascinated by the jungle? And is there a subject matter that translates to inspiring kid’s own artwork more easily? Henri Rousseau is a natural when it comes to getting kids talking about art!
Henri Rousseau was a French Post Impressionist painter with a life story that kids will find relatable and a body of art work they will find exciting! Dig in!
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The life of an artist…
Talk about an inspiring story. This guy spent most of his adult life working as a tax collect; a tax collector turned artist! I love the idea of showing kids that people are always learning and growing. (Check out a list of books about this growth mindset here!)
What you are today does not have to be what you are for the rest of your life. Rousseau took a real chance when leaving his occupation and beginning a new career as an artist.
Take that critics…
Rousseau’s whole life is a tale of growth and staying true to himself. While he started life as a tax collector and only began practicing art as an adult he was known as a “naïve” painter. He received criticism for his flat, unrealistic shapes and his lack of proper proportion.
And guess what? He kept on painting in his own style despite the criticism. And eventually he was accepted into the art world and even celebrated for his talent.
Books about Rousseau
If you want to bring the life of an old famous guy to life for kids what better way than books? While Rousseau does not have the same body of work about him as some artists do there are still some good ones out there that are especially suitable for kids! Kid’s book make such an easy way for kids to learn about artists.
Not only do they usually contain reproductions of the artist’s work but they bring the life of the artist into color. Facts turn into stories through children’s literature! These books could be an art history lesson in and of themselves.
After the reading comes the talking…
If you’re like me you learn just as much from reading these books as your kids do. Information gleaned from these books will hopefully spark some conversation with your kiddo; both about the artwork and the artist himself.
It’s always interesting to see in what way kids relate artwork to their own life.
And then the writing….
This artist study asks for more opinions than facts and this is a purposeful design. When kids are first introduced to an artwork I think the “big ideas” are more important than the facts surrounding those big ideas. In my opinion there is plenty of time to memorize dates and facts later. That’s what college lecture classes are for.
This artist study is meant to spark an interest in a story and get kids used to putting their thoughts and opinions on paper. Putting thoughts onto paper can be scary. Get your kids used to doing it by writing about art often and making sure they have a chance to be successful!
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Where to look for art….
Whether you’re a mom or a teacher (or both, like me) scrambling to throw together resources to teach with can be time consuming and daunting. Beyond children’s books here are a couple of sources I use to teach about any artist!
Local art centers and museums often have prints and other materials available for educators to borrow. Our local art center has “portfolios” of artists work that can be checked out by educators…for free! It’s worth a couple of phone calls to see what’s out there!
The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. provides digital access to a large body of “open access” work. This means there is a large body of work that is no longer under copyright and is available free of charge for download and use. The NGA can be a huge resource for educators looking for ways to expose their kiddos to great work!
These Henri Rousseau printables are for subscribers to use freely in your home or classroom! And if you find them useful please share this post so that others can use them too!
Use this free printable artist study to get your kiddo talking and writing about art! This one can be used with any artist or artwork.
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