Charlotte Mason & Picture Talks
Charlotte Mason referred to art study as “picture talks.” The students were simply expected to express what they observed or how the work of art impacted them. The teacher’s role is not to lecture but to guide the conversation and allow the students to do the talking.
Implementing Charlotte Mason Art Appreciation
The first step is to select an artist to study for a particular time frame. You may select one week by week, for a term or a semester. You may want to select an artist from the time period of history you are studying or simply start with a family favorite.
Steps to Conducting your Art Study
- Select an artist to study.
- Select 5 or more pictures of the artist’s work to study.
- Read a short story or briefly go over the artist’s life. (You may want to assign a biography to older children)
- Place all the pictures in front of the child and have her study them silently for a few minutes.
- Take the pictures away and have your child narrate what she can remember about the pictures.
- Finally, show her the pictures again, but this time ask questions to engage her in a conversation or picture talk.
Engage your child in a conversation about a work of art is simple and should be stress-free.
Questions to Ask
- What do you see?
- How does the painting make you feel?
- What colors do you see? Which is the most prominent?
- What do you notice about the style of the painting?
Activities to Add to Your Study
- Play “I Spy” with the pictures.
- Draw or paint a replica or in that style of the artist.
- Assign a biography to your child.
- Create a binder or portfolio for an artist or your school year.
“few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it taking in every detail. Then the picture is turned over and the children tell what they have seen (i.e. narrate)” -Charlotte Mason
Creating an Art Binder or Portfolio for a Charlotte Mason Picture Study
- 3 Ring Binder (you may want to get this pack of four, 1-inch, binders to cover the year)
- Sheet Protectors
- 3 Ring Hold Punch (only if you do not use sheet protectors)
- Charlotte Mason Picture Talks/Art Study Pages
- Print out the Charlotte Mason Picture Talks Binder or use your own loose leaf paper.
- Fill in the sheets or note on other paper the date, name of artist, thoughts, etc.
- Place in sheet protectors and place in the binder.
- You may want to add in art your child created or pictures of art your child created.
Online Resources for a Charlotte Mason Art Study
“There must be knowledge … not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced that is, children should learn pictures line by line, group by group, by reading not books (about art) but the pictures themselves.” -Charlotte Mason