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.

[download id=”71″ format=”1″]

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.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sybille June 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

Great Jimmie!! Thank you very much for the downloads and the description. It is very inspiring. Have a great June!


Lacy June 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm

This rocks! I just ‘pinned’ it. 🙂 I’d stumble it, too if this computer had the right toolbar.


Shannon June 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm

What a wonderful artist study! I’m tumbling it, so I’ll remember it for later.

You’ve caused a lightbulb to go off for me about artist study. I never manage to get around to it each week – sometimes not even monthly. I’m thinking that maybe, like you, it’s because it’s not part of our daily routine. Classical music is sort of a part of our daily life around here, so even though I don’t do a formal composer study each day, I feel like my children are getting a good foundation in it. Maybe that’s how I should start approaching artist study too.

Thanks for the lightbulb moment!


Sally June 1, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Thank you for this gem of a blog spot! I read your blog regularly, but rarely ever post (usually I am nursing my girl, so my typing is atrocious!) — but thank you, thank you for all you share so freely with us! Today’s post is great for me to read, as I am spending time these days looking ahead to our fall line-up and how best to present and work with my children in a Charlotte Mason style. I started out with a variation of Artist Study this past fall, but didn’t keep it up. I pouted about it and moved on 🙂
I hope to revisit Artist Study and try some different things – you have given me a lot to consider! Thank you!


Nadene June 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

Ooh, your post made me wish we could “do Gauguin over” again! We do regular art, but I tend to gloss over the Geography and other interdisciplinary (great word!) moments. You have inspired me to take our art study up a notch!


Giggly Girls June 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

Your artist studies are alway inspiring.


Barb-Harmony Art Mom September 7, 2011 at 7:17 am

Another great artist study..always love Sprite’s follow-up artwork. I am inspired by the notebook pages and will be linking to them in my grade 8 plans for HFA. 🙂

Thanks so much for sharing your steps.


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