Principle Approach Art

Teaching Impressionism with Bible Principles

Teaching Impressionism with Bible Principles

While art is a subject often dropped within the school system, this happens in many homeschools as well. And it’s quite a tragedy! But what’s even more tragic is when children aren’t taught Bible Principles in art. However, it doesn’t have to remain this way.

For today’s article, our focus is teaching Impressionism with Bible Principles. And Master Artist Claude Monet is the highlighted artist for this lesson. Why? To begin with, he’s considered to be one of the ennobled famous artists. It should be noted that he was one of the founders of the French Impressionist School of Art. With this in mind, he gave this advice to young artists:
“I would advise young artists . . . to paint as they can, as long as they can, without being afraid of painting badly . . . . If their painting doesn’t improve by itself, it means that nothing can be done – and I wouldn’t do anything!” ~Claude Monet

Now, doesn’t he already sound like an artist to get to know about? Let’s get started!


It Can Be Taught Over a Couple of Days: Day 1

Firstly, I’d like to point out that the lesson can be taught over a couple of days. For the first day, you can focus on:

  • The Leading Idea,
  • A brief intro of Claude Monet with a quote,
  • Then a Word Study based off of his quote.
  • Following that a discussion about the Bible Principle can take place,
  • Do a Key Individual Study of Claude Monet (his background, his beliefs, his family life, his contributions, etc.)
  • Lastly, admiring different works of his art can be enjoyed together.

How to Make a Bible Principles Art Lesson

Secondly, what statement or question do you want to ask your students to get them thinking and engaged? This is called the Leading Idea. Let’s consider the following two options and then just pick one for your lesson.

  • “Art has a purpose! Let’s discover what it is.”
  • “Do you know that art has a purpose? Shall we discover what it is?”

Ennobled Artist Discussion

Then begin a discussion. For instance, “We’ll be learning about Master Artist Claude Monet as we study Impressionism. He once said:

“All I did was to look at what the universe showed me, to let my brush bear witness to it.” ~ Claude Monet

Continuing the conversation you could say, “What do you think he meant by what the universe showed him? If we look up the definition of universe in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, we learn:

Universe, n. The collective name of heaven and earth, and all that belongs to them; the whole system of created things.”

Then we can point out to our students that Claude Monet acknowledges that he acknowledged a Creator. Remember the rest of his quote? He said, “…to let my brush bear witness to it.”

Teaching a Relevant Bible Principle

When we consider “the whole system of created things” we think of all things being made by our Creator. So, a fitting Bible Principles is found in John 1:3:

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”  John 1:3

Artist Activity

Evidence of Claude Monet bearing witness to God’s Creation can be observed in his paintings. For instance, this lesson’s activity could be simply be enjoying books of his paintings. If you don’t have access to these types of books, do an Internet search together of his paintings. And discuss his use of color, the feelings his paintings evoke, etc.

It Can Be Taught Over a Couple of Days: Day 2

Thirdly, the second lesson can focus on:

  • Reviewing the Leading Idea,
  • Defining the root word impression (of impressionism),
  • Then a Word Study based off of what impressionist’s focused on can be done (i.e. light and color),
  • Following that another discussion about the Bible Principle can take place,
  • Lastly, students can create their own impressionist painting.

What Is Impressionism Discussion?

Before our students can being painting in this style, it’s helpful for them to fully understand it. The Impressionists used light colors in their paintings. Therefore, we can define light and color in our Word Study. In this way, it will help us better comprehend the use of light and to better visualize color use in this manner.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines light as:
“Light, n. Tending to break out or open, or to shoot, to gleam, and as a noun, a breaking out in blotches, a gleam, indistinct light; that is apt to break out, that is bright, to make bright, to clear, to appear in spots; a darting, sudden throw, glance, flash; to throw, to fling, to pelt; lightening.”
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines color as:
“Color, n. 2. Appearance of a body to the eye, or a quality of sensation, caused by the rays of light; hue; dye; as the color of gold, or of indigo.”

So, your discussion could go like this: “As described in the definitions of light and color, Claude Monet desired to paint in “a breaking out in blotches” or “broken spots.” He took quick glances at his subject he was painting as he applied the colors he saw- this helped him achieve the loose effect of his paintings. He focused more on the color and loose shapes… “the appearance of a body to the eye.”

Artist Activity- Day 2

Discuss with your students how eventually, Monet’s color pallet did not contain black. And over time he gave up browns… and other earth tones. He is quoted to say,

In short, I use white lead, cadmium yellow, vermilion, madder, cobalt blue, chrome green. That’s all.”


In the examples below of what we did, you’ll see some browns in the paintings.  And this is because the copy that I printed out had browns in it vs. the image below of Monet’s Haystack Snow Effect.

Haystack Snow Effect
Claude Monet
My (hurried) Impression of
Haystack Snow Effect
(I know… I know… the angle of the shadow is off.)


Before teaching, I print off copies of  simple line drawing of Haystack Snow Effect seen below for each student.


I found it at Enchanted Learning’s website and you can go here to print out copies of it. This helped them greatly with placement and to visually grasp the looseness of this style- notice there aren’t any details. They looked at it and drew it free hand onto their water color paper.



  • Water Color Paper (We like the brand Canson XL Series at Michael’s Craft Store. We buy the 9×12 pad. The paper weight is 140 LB. We have found this to work well with a variety of mediums. I like to use the 40% off coupons. They also have a teacher discount of  %15 on Fridays only- which can be combined with the coupon!)
  • Pencils
  • Oil Pastels- white, gray, blues, golden yellow, orange, red. (We buy Artist Loft brand at Michael’s Craft Store. It’s only around $5 for a box containing a large number of small sticks of colors).
  • A printout of the painting or the simplified drawing of it.

Steps for the Art Project:

Step One:

Cut 9×12 sheets of water color paper in half width-wise. One per student.

Step Two:

Give your students a printout of the painting or simplified drawing of it and have them draw freehand onto their paper with their pencil.

Step Three:

Have them begin with the sky. Remind them to use “broken spots of color” like Monet did and to focus on the shape of color. They are aiming for the “appearance of body to the eye.”

Step Four:

They can use their fingers to blend the colors if they think they need to (though keep in mind they don’t blend well on their own.)

***Remember that oil pastels may stain, so take care when using them.

Examples of What Some of the Students Did!

11 Year Old
9 Year Old
7 Year Old
6 Year Old

3 Year Old

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  1. Look forward to doing this with my children. Thanks.