The Impressionist artists are some of our favorites – we’ve done some great projects about Monet, Renoir, and a few others. Next on our list is Mary Cassatt. It seems perfectly fitting since her birthday is this month – May 22, 1844.
Mary Cassatt was an American artist who moved to Paris to learn more about the Impressionist technique. She’s most well-known for her paintings of children and mothers, focusing on everyday life and the relationship between mother and child.
She also enjoyed trying a variety of techniques for her work, which gives us plenty of ways to mimic her style.
When I looked for ideas to learning about Mary Cassatt I didn’t find as much as I hoped, so I spent some time digging to find some fun Impressionist art ideas. Here are the Mary Cassatt art projects for kids we’ve collected.
1. Create A Monoprint
Monoprinting is a ‘printed’ painting technique. A picture is painted on a flat surface then a print is made by pressing paper onto the wet painting. Mary Cassatt used this technique for some of her pieces and it’s an easy technique to copy.
Paint a picture directly on the pan, working quickly before the paint has time to dry. Use the q-tips and toothpicks to draw designs in the paint. When you’re finished, press a piece of art paper onto the wet painting. Lift the paper carefully and allow it to dry.
2. Learn How To Use Pastels
Cassatt became well-known for her works in pastels when she worked with other Impressionist artists. Chalk pastels are a fun medium (they can be messy!) for kids to work with.
We managed to pick up a pack of assorted coloured pastels from Amazon for a really good price. Better still they come in a container that’s perfect for storage.
3. Paint Outdoors
The Impressionist artists were well known for taking their watercolours and easels to paint outside. Plan a nice sunny day at a park and take along your art supplies to paint ‘en Plein Air’ like the Impressionists.
To make it even easier, use watercolor pencils to sketch and then when you get home, use a paint brush to paint over the picture.
4. Japenese Print Making
Mary Cassatt was influenced by the Japanese woodcut technique and used that style for some of her work.
A similar effect can be made by etching a picture into a piece of styrofoam, then carefully painting the picture (avoiding the etched areas). Work quickly so the paint doesn’t dry.
Once the picture is finished, press a piece of art paper onto the styrofoam and carefully lift it off.
5. Compare Mary Cassatt’s Paintings
Art study is a great way to get to know the artwork of a particular artist. Spend some time looking at Mary Cassatt’s paintings (here’s a collection of her works) and compare them.
Choose two paintings that feature mothers with their children. Open each in a different browser tab and compare the paintings.
A few art study questions to get you started:
- What is the mood of the painting? Happy? Sad?
- How does the mother feel? How does the child feel?
- What are they doing?
- What are they thinking about?
- What do you notice about the background of the painting?
Now study one picture for a few minutes, noticing all the details. Then cover the picture and ‘narrate’ it back to your mom or dad. Pretend they’ve never seen the portrait and your details are all they will know about it.