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Kids Art Activities: Art Inspired by Great Artists

imitating famous paintings - creative inspiration

Mike’s notes from dad have evolved into “notes from dad and kids”, and most Sunday afternoons you’ll find Mike and the kids drawing together. Since my kids love to draw, we’re always looking for fun kids art activities, and this version – making drawing inspired by great works of arts – has become a favorite with six-year-old Emma!

Musee d'Orsay - impressionist paintings

It all started when my parents sent us their copy of Paintings in the Musee D’orsay – a huge book of impressionist paintings from this gorgeous museum that I spent hours poring over as a kid. One afternoon, Mike picked it up and devised a game: pick a painting, and imitate it, using only a pen and crayons!

chose a painting and try to imitate it - fun creative activity for all ages!

Here is Mike’s simplified depiction of Prince Eugene de Suede’s The Old Chateau :

Crayon and ink drawing inspired by Prince Eugene de Suede's The Old Chateau

And six-year-old Emma’s version:

A six-year-old's crayon and ink drawing inspired by Prince Eugene de Suede's The Old Chateau

And here is a depiction of the process, because that’s what Pinterest loves and I love Pinterest:

art inspired by great artistsDo you have any favorite art activities for kids?

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

23 thoughts on “Kids Art Activities: Art Inspired by Great Artists”

  1. I remember doing this activity as a kid at school. They’d give us a painting and we’d copy it. Weirdly I was a good copier but when it came time to do my own it wasn’t nearly as fabulous lol.

  2. Ooohhhh, I like the idea of copying the painting. We’ve tried making art in the style of the artist, but it never goes quite right. I think my kids are too much out of the box thinkers….. I wonder where they got that from.

  3. I love the Musee D’Orsay. I was there when I was like a sophomore in high school (won’t say how long ago that was), but it was beautiful!

    I love love love the art, Mama! Talent abound in your family!

    No, I don’t do art. LOL. In fact, I asked another Mama in my homeschool Co-op group to work with my kids once a week on art. I can do science, math, phonics – but art. I hate the mess.

  4. I love this – what a beautiful way to learn about famous works of art while creating your own. You sure have some great artists in your family!

  5. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    All of these pictures are dreamy. It just makes my heart smile to see Emma’s version. So sweet.

    I can’t say we have a favorite art activity, but art is big part of our lives. I like art much more than “crafts”. I like to introduce an artist or an art medium and then I turn the kiddos loose to create their own works of art. We get much inspiration for children’s literature. The children recently drew portraits of each other. I can’t wait to frame these. They turned out so good.

    One of my favorite read alouds to encourage children’s artistic side is “ish” by Peter H. Reynolds.

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