Art Appreciation Made Easy: Jan Vermeer


Vermeer Artist Study @harmonyfinearts

Jan Vermeer

Links to a Vermeer biography:

Links to some of his paintings:

1. Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665/66
2. The Music Lesson, 1662-65
3. The Milkmaid, 1658-60
4. The Geographer, 1668/69

More places to view Vermeer’s work: Vermeer on WikiPaintings

Tips for Viewing Vermeer’s Artwork

You can right click on the image and copy it to your desktop to print it out. In most cases it is permissible to download one copy for study purposes. You can print out the pieces you really like, slip them in page protectors, and then keep them in a binder to review as the year goes on.

You can also make the painting your computer’s wallpaper background and view it for a week. You can do this by right clicking on the image and then choosing to set the image as your desktop wallpaper.

Steps for General Picture Study

1. Choose the painting to be viewed.
2. Have the child sit quietly and just look at the painting.
3. After a time of looking, hide the painting from view and ask your child to tell you what he remembers about the painting. (Charlotte Mason calls this narration.)
4. That is it. It is as simple as that.
5. To extend the activity for older students, you may have them sketch the painting from memory. You can also have the child write a review of the painting for thier notebook. My boys enjoyed Jan Vermeer’s artwork so we printed the paintings out and they put them into their art binders. I am going to put together another set of images to view later in the year for them.

Additional Ideas for Beginners

For a less Charlotte Mason approach you can prompt your child with the following questions if they are having trouble discussing the painting.

  • What colors do you see?
  • What objects can you see in the painting?
  • What is going on in the artwork?
  • Is the work of art true-to-life?
  • What ideas or emotions do you think this work is trying to express?
  • Do you like this piece of art and why or why not?
  • Do you like this artwork more now than you did when you first saw it?

Note this is an affiliate link to a book I own and love.

You can check your local public library for a copy of this book to share with your children if you want to go more in-depth in your Vermeer study.


If you are wanting even more time studying this important painter, you can use the Harmony Fine Arts Grade 7 plans which include a six week study of Vermeer. Click the button below to see the Grade 7 plans and a sample to download.

Grade 7

In addition, I have a complete Harmony Fine Arts Mini Unit dedicated to the study of Vermeer. This unit study covers nine weeks of study along with many printable activities and notebooking pages created to help you and your family learn more about Vermeer. You can click the button below to read more details and to download a sample. The price is less than a fancy cup of coffee at $3.95!

Vermeer Haydn Cover Button 2

You Can Paint Pastels-Book Review

You Can Paint Pastels Video Tutorial @harmonyfinearts

I am always on the look out for good beginner’s art books and I found a gem this week. We are using oil pastels along with Artistic Pursuits Jr. High Level 2 this year. I needed a bit more direction than the book offered so I was hunting for something to use with my boys. I found You Can Paint Pastels.

Edit to add: This book is not available new on but there are lots of reasonably priced used copies for you to order. I think this book is worth finding used and using in your family.

You Can Paint Pastels

This post contains affiliate links.

I highly recommend You Can Paint Pastels by Marie Blake. It shows you step by step how to use this medium and it is simple to follow. My 11 year old son worked on the still life project this morning and had awesome results. I think for moms who are looking for help with their nature journals and how to actually draw realistic things in your journals, this will be a terrific help.

Contents include:
Basic materials
Color mixing
Foreground and distance
Light, shade, and shape
Exploring plants
Still Life
Animals and people

Here is a short video I made on how to use oil pastels for beginners: Oil Pastel Demonstration- Beginners.

Discovering Great Artists

Discovering Great Artists Review @harmonyfinearts

Here is a review of a book that I have been using for quite some time now.

Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Kim Solga can be seen around the homeschooling world quite a bit and I know a lot of different programs recommend it for a study of great artists. Here’s some pros and cons:

Things I Like About Discovering Great Artists

* The chart in the front shows the artist’s name, style, dates of lifetime, list of corresponding activities, and the level of difficulty
*Most activities give an example of a finished product
*Most materials we have on hand
*I love chapter 5 with examples of games and activities (Masters Scrapbook page 111 is a fabulous idea)

Things I Don’t Like About Discovering Great Artists
*I would have liked a list for each artist giving their major works so we could easily look them up. (See note below for a suggestion.)
*I wish the prints included in the book were in color for the children to look at and study

This book could easily be the basis for a whole year’s worth of art projects. They recommend the book for ages 4-12 but I would recommend it for ages 8-14. The art activities and the projects listed in the back will keep you busy.

Update: I just did a quick search of the Bright Ideas For Learning website (publishers of the book) and they now have a page that links to each of the artist’s work! Click the link above to check it out! They also have art activity cards that you can print out from their website. These cards can be printed in color and they include an artist’s print, short biography of the artist, and an additional art activity.

This book would be a great inexpensive choice for starting out on your journey to get to know artists while having some fun activities to try.

This post contains affiliate links.

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