Paul Gauguin Artist Study

by Jimmie Lanley on June 1, 2011

gauguin notebooking

Our artist for the term is Paul Gauguin.

Artist Study Background

While most Charlotte Mason homeschoolers focus on one piece of art a week, we prefer to narrate a piece each day. For some reason a daily activity is easier for me to remember and implement than a weekly or monthly one. (Our poetry study is done in the same way.)

Some people use online resources for art, but I prefer a book. I rely on used book stores and thrift stores for excellently priced “coffee table” art books.  (If that’s not an option, I have bought the Taschen art books.) As long as the books are full of color reproductions, they are great for artist study. We skip over ones that might make us feel icky (violent, graphic, or just sad).

How I Design Sprite’s Lessons

Art is a subject that Sprite and I both enjoy, so we use it as a springboard for many other areas such as geography, reading, and writing. This interdisciplinary learning is a foundation of a Charlotte Mason education — letting children find connections among concepts. Learning does not need to be segmented into strict categories.

Your artist study doesn’t have to be this detailed. I’m taking this almost to a unit study level. Realize that as we do art, we are also sneaking in other academic areas.

Paul Gauguin Details

gauguin notebooking page

Our Paul Gauguin artist study revolves around a HUGE second hand book and some additional titles I reserved from the library:

  1. Paul Gauguin (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) A simple overview.
  2. The Yellow House LOVE this one since it ties Van Gogh with Gauguin in a beautiful picture book.
  3. Paul Gauguin (Artists in Their Time) A more thorough treatment.

I created some notebooking pages which you can also download and use for your own Gauguin study.

Paul Gauguin Notebooking Pages - Four layouts in three line styles for a total of twelve printable notebooking pages featuring the artist Paul Gaugin.

I integrated geography into our artist study with the help of some printable maps from Scholastic’s Ready-to-Go Super Book of Outline Maps. (I bought that as an ebook from the Scholastic website at a discounted price. I have used it time and time again because the maps are so nicely done.) As a location was mentioned, I had Sprite locate and mark it on her map pages.

gauguin notebooking maps


gauguin ReverieI normally have Sprite choose one work of art to “make her own” by creating a reproduction. She chose the painting Reverie.
gauguin reproduction

Then I asked to to choose another piece to analyze with the material from the Smart Art book. She chose Reverie again. From her notes on the evaluation form from Smart Art, she wrote a one paragraph analysis of the color and emotion in the painting.

Remember, we don’t use a formal writing curriculum. Instead, I look for opportunities like this one to integrate writing into what we are otherwise studying. An artist study certainly doesn’t have to include a writing assignment.

I created a Squidoo lens with more details about a Gauguin Artist Study where you can read Sprite’s paragraph and find more printables to download.

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