Welcome to the Stone Age
I'm going to try to move through the art historical timeline with these art lessons. So, to kick off our art lesson we shall start where I started as an art student in Lascaux, France and the Paleolithic period or Stone Age.
Materials and Levels
Know thy child. You may have a 1st grader who you feel can totally handle the Advanced Level or a 5th grader who you think should stick with the Beginner Level. These are just guidelines which are made to be altered based on your little artist's needs!
Advanced (5th grade +): butcher paper, pencil, paint or pastels
Advanced-Medium (5th grade-4th grade): paper, pastels
Medium (3rd-2nd grade): paper and markers
Beginners (1st-early education): coloring sheets and markers or crayons
Key words to keep in mind: Paleolithic period or Stone Age, hunters and gathers, public art, environment, medium
I always start lessons by asking what students think about the art. First, because their answers are usually hilarious and I enjoy their responses. Second, because this is how art history works. We look carefully at the work of art and begin to draw conclusions about it. Encourage your child to talk about everything they see in the picture. Tell them to look carefully at the details and colors and use their imagination to deduce what is going on in the image.
Advanced-medium: what do you think is going on here? If you had to make up a story based on what is shown, what would that story be and why? What shapes do you see in the animals?
Beginners: What animals do you see here? What are they doing? What colors do you see in this picture?
The Paleolithic period was millions of years ago. One of the oldest works of art from the Paleolithic period are the cave painting in Lascaux, France. These paints are ca. 15,000 BC. The artists in this period of history were not all that different from artist today. They drew and painted what they saw in their world.
Unlike modern people, they did not have grocery stores so they had to hunt for their meat and gather their wheat and produce. The cave paints show what they saw and did day to day.
A medium is the materials an artist uses to create a work of art. There are many different mediums: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, etc. What type of medium do you think was used to create these? Natural based paint on stone. This is one of the earliest examples of public art, that is, art that everyone in the community can see and enjoy. Today we will try to imitate this art style by first recreating an art piece then our own based on what we see around us.
Have your child choose a scene to recreate in the appropriate medium for their age group.
Advanced: Advanced artists can choose to draw the scene standing on butcher paper mounded on the wall like the cave painters would have done with pastel or paint. Or, they could paint or draw the animal of their choice sitting and hang it up after to create their cave.
Medium: Medium level artists can choose to draw the scene standing with markers. Or, sitting and mount their work to create their cave wall after.
Beginner: Beginner artists can color the coloring pages (encourage appropriate colors) and can mount the work afterward.
If you want to be really adventurous, you could have you child hang their work, then turn all the lights out and let them "discover" their cave paintings with a flashlight just like the Caves of Lascaux were discovered.