How Artists See:

Colleen Carroll has created treasures for parents who wish to teach their children about art – especially those who don’t know much about art themselves.  Her series of books titled How Artists See… give parents and children a common vocabulary with which to discuss paintings.

Each two-page spread focuses on a different painting and guides the readers through different elements within the painting, such a color, brush strokes and shapes.  Each spread not only includes the entire painting, but also a close-up of a specific detail.

These are not books for rushing.  My children and I absorb one two-page spread at a time, taking time to look closely at the paintings.  That’s plenty for younger children.  For older children, Carroll includes biographies of the artists in the back of the book, as well as a book list for further reading.

While preschool and elementary-age children might enjoy these books best, my middle school children do sometimes pick up these books on their own to browse through them.

Titles in this series include:

  • How Artists See:  the Elements
  • How Artists See:  Feelings
  • How Artists See:  Cities
  • How Artists See:  Families
  • How Artists See:  People
  • How Artists See:  the Weather
  • How Artists See:  Play
  • How Artists See:  America
  • How Artists See:  Heroes
  • How Artists See:  Work
  • How Artists See:  Artists

This is not an exhaustive list.  Carroll has also written a How Artists See Jr: collection that is worth exploring with toddlers and preschoolers.

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