Four years ago our family (my husband, our three girls, our dog and myself) sold everything, left our home, our family and friends to begin a one-year adventure traveling through Europe (which turned into 3.5 years!) and start Around the World Stories. And as seems to happen when you travel and try something new, it took us places we never expected. The road was filled with many detours and unexpected discoveries. One of those discoveries was a new way to learn about art.
It’s easy to gain a great appreciation for famous paintings and sculptures when traveling around Europe — visiting the D’Orsay in Paris, the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and the sculptures of Michelangelo in Rome. But what surprised me was how much learning about the artists and their lives and struggles added to our appreciation of their work. Then it hit me – the real story is not only what’s on the canvas, but also how it got there. Our kids’ appreciation of art only really started when they learned about the artists and their stories – where they lived, how they lived, why the did what they did.
We began to plan some of our travels around the towns and birth houses of these artists, we visited the same cafes and sat in the same parks where they painted. We learned about the cultures of their countries and how it affected their art. And we learned about their struggles and accomplishments before they became famous (if they even did during their lifetime).
Did you know that art critics ridiculed Monet’s work as being unfinished and childish? Did you know van Gogh was an extremely kind person who couldn’t stop helping people? Did you know that when Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he’d had very little experience with a paint brush? Did you know Kandinsky had a condition that allowed him to see sounds and hear colors? Each of these artists has a story — an inspirational story of how and why they changed the face of art forever.
The six audio adventures in our Artists Around the World set — Monet, van Gogh, Picasso, Michelangelo, O’Keeffe and Kandinsky — tell stories not just about their talent, but about the strength and courage they needed to display their talent to the world.
This week we’re talking about Monet – the man who boldly decided that painting things as they actually appeared wasn’t really the point of being an artist. That’s like saying that staying in tune isn’t really an important part of being a musician or focusing on taste isn’t an important part of being a chef. Can’t you just imagine the laughs this caused among the artistic elite in Paris — the jokes that were told of Monet’s blurry, childish, unfinished creations?
Today we’re absolutely thrilled to announce that we’ve joined our friends at Chalk Pastel to create a Monet for a Day learning adventure on Thursday June 11th! We absolutely love Chalk Pastel, the family behind it, and all the love and passion that goes into each lesson! Your kids can both draw with Nana in their Famous Artists series and also learn about Monet in our story — The Way to the Water Lilies! Our audio story will be part of Chalk Pastel’s Monet lesson and their lesson will now be part of our Monet Parent Guide. It’s the perfect Monet unit study, and we’d be so excited to share it with you!
You may, of course, enjoy Monet for a Day any day of the year (and SO much more for the whole family) by joining the Artist Clubhouse and Around the World Stories. And be sure to watch our social media for more Monet fun this week.
Happy creating, listening and learning! We’re so excited to share Monet for a Day with you!