Meet the Masters :: Vincent van Gogh

by | Feb 4, 2014 | Art, Meet the Masters | 19 comments

This year we are studying some of the Master Artists using Meet the Masters.  My husband took art appreciation classes in college, but I never did study any of the artists growing up…  I’ve used Child Size Masterpieces (affiliate link)  and incorporated a few Leonardo and Michelangelo art projects with the older children when they were younger, but other than that I have never made much of an effort to incorporate art study into our lesson plans until this year.  
In the fall we all enjoyed creating our Art Portfolios.   We also completed the Vincent van Gogh unit study.  This was our first introduction to van Gogh’s life, and wow. Studying the artists is so different than studying the lives of the saints! We ended the lesson with a great discussion about the importance of having our faith at the center of our lives, and a prayer for his soul.  
.: Master Artist :. 
Vincent van Gogh (van-GOE)
Dutch (1853-1890)
The results of Van Gogh’s unhappy and tragic life are beautiful, expressive paintings of a world that did not accept or understand him.
Art Activity Emphasis: Texture
Media: Oil Pastel on black construction paper card stock

Lesson: Complete Meet the Masters Slide Show

.:Art Supplies :. 
 Note: All links to Amazon are affiliate links. 
Black construction paper (we used card stock instead)
Oil Pastels (we used the Pentel 16 count
Paper towel (for wiping fingers)
.: Practice Technique – Texture :. 


.: Art Project :. 

Didn’t they all turn out so pretty?! 
.: Additional Reading :. 
I’d also love to do this Sunflower Art Project as an additional follow up activity and read a few other books on van Gogh including Katie and the Sunflowers, van Gogh and the Sunflowers, and In the Garden with van Gogh!


  1. Christine

    This looks great, Jessica! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Karina

    Which level did you use for your kids? Do the older boys find it too "simple" if the age level is below them? Just wondering if I should try one level in the middle, or need multiple age levels. Thanks for sharing – these look great!

  3. Sleen

    I love teaching Art History! We use Childsized Masterpieces, but I've probably tripled the number of art cards that we use. I think your kids' works are excellent! Every one of them echoes the original. Just beautiful! Will definitely look into Meet the Masters.

    When we were JUST starting out, I got the biggest kick out of a stranger's comment. We were walking through the corridor of a large hospital, and my then 4th-grader spotted a painting that she recognized from our art history class. She said, "Oh wow! It's 'Sunday Afternoon on Le Grande Jatte!!!" A lady sitting nearby said, "Now that's the sign of a great education." : ) My daughter thanked her and we didn't let on that she was being homeschooled. But my head DID swell a bit that day, LOL.

  4. Jessica Gordon

    I went with the Bundle 1 all 35 Artists in Level 3 for ages 10-Adult at an additional discount from Rainbow Resource. (Single tracks have a 3-year expiration date from the time of purchase and bundles have a 4-year expiration. So my hope is to finish all 35 Artist Units, or at least most of them, over the next four years.)

    It is a little challenging for the younger children, and I did modify the scripted lesson on van Gogh slightly (skimming over some of his life events) to make it a little more appropriate for them, but they haven't had any trouble participating. I didn't think it was worth the cost or that I'd take the time to teach the lessons at three different levels.

    The program is currently also available at an even better discount at Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.

  5. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks, Sleen! I am really enjoying teaching this too, and learning alongside the children! 🙂

  6. Christina

    Beautiful pictures! After using both Meet the Masters and Child Sized Masterpieces which would you recommend for a kindergarten aged child? I would love to introduce more art to my eldest but I don't have much of a background in it.

  7. VeraMvJ

    O if I could have learned this at school 50 years ago. The drawings look so beautiful. Homescholing is awesome.
    The name Van Gogh is pronounced like this…. V A (of 'are') N G (hard G like youre scraping your throat 🙂 O (of 'on') G (again the hard G).
    Greetings from the Netherlands and wish that could visit the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

  8. Jessica Gordon

    I suppose it would depend on what it is you are wanting to teach. Child Sized Masterpieces is more of an art appreciation study, learning to identify the artists by their styles, if I am remembering correctly… We didn't use it very much. I should go pull it off the shelf and incorporate it into Meet the Masters!

    This past summer I was searching for a program that combined art history with actual art projects and techniques. I ended up taking a closer look at Meet the Masters after it was suggested by my oldest daughter's godmother who has been using it with children. So far it has been a great choice for us!

  9. Micaela Darr

    I absolutely love MTM. We are in track B now, and we do an artist a week with our homeschool co-op. I haven't gone too deeply into the lives of the artists nor have I incorporated as many books as I would have liked. But I love that they're learning great techniques and seeing such beautiful work all the time.

  10. Anonymous

    When I read the part about how different this was from studying the lives of the saints my wheels started turning. With your knowledge of the faith, creativity, and ability to instruct children in art and faith would you ever consider making a meet the masters type product for faith based paintings? I think you and your kids could come up with some wonderful power points lessons or dvds and the kids make such delightful artwork as examples. Who wouldn't love learning from your family! I'm all ready to pre order!

  11. Christine M.

    After completing this Meet the Masters set will you have everything you would need (by printing) to teach it again with your younger children? I just wondered this since you said it expired. Would it be necessary, do you think, to repurchase the entire program? Do you think you and your kids are enjoying it enough and learning enough that you will use the other units in future years? I have looked at the Katie books before but not yet purchased any. Have you used those? Do your boys enjoy them, if so, or are they more geared towards girls? Thanks for your help, and God bless!

  12. Unknown

    + Jessica, how often do you incorporate an art history/lesson into the curriculum–once a month or more often?

  13. Jessica

    Your children are so talented! What a great way to explore art.

  14. Jessica Gordon

    By downloading and printing I have all the text, but I don't have all the artist's work (the slides during the lesson) to go along with them – however those could be found pretty easily online. There is also a little quiz that is online and not included in the download, but I think that is about it.

    I do hope to complete all 35 of the units over the next four school years. We'll have to see if it actually happens or not! 😉

    My girls and the younger children enjoyed Katie and the Starry Night. The older boys (age 13 & 11) somewhat listened in but particularly interested. In fact they weren't interested in studying art at all, when I told them what my plans were, but they were pleasantly surprised and have really been enjoying the course so far.

    At this point I only own Katie and the Starry Night and Katie Meets the Impressionists. I do plan to purchase more of the titles, or see if I can get our library to order copies.

  15. Jessica Gordon

    So far this school year we have completed three of the units: the preview unit (I believe this is available as a free sample online?) which was an introduction to the course and we created our art portfolios, then this van Gogh study in the fall, and we've also completed the unit on Mary Cassatt. I am hoping to finish at least Tract A (3 more artists) by summer. For the past few units we've spent the whole afternoon (Friday or Saturday) completing the lesson, practicing the technique, and then completing the art activity. It could easily be broken down into smaller time periods, and spread out over a few weeks, but for us it has worked best to just spend one full day on the unit.

  16. Unknown

    Beautiful artwork! Vincent would be honored and proud! 🙂

  17. Christine M.

    Thanks! My older boys are 14, 13, and 11, so that helps a lot. :). Really my 8 year old boy is the art enthusiast.

  18. Jessica Gordon

    Hahaha! I don't know when I'd have the time to do something like that, and like I said in this post I have very little experience with art. 🙂

    I actually have been considering ordering the Christian Heritage Art Program to move on to after we complete Meet the Masters. (It is also available at Sacred Heart Books and Gifts.) I don't know anything about the program, other than what I've read in the descriptions, but it might be something worth looking into further.

  19. Anonymous

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I checked out the link and think it sounds pretty wonderful. You may have little experience with art but you are a real artist. It seems grace simply abounds. I am going to insist that even if the hour isn't now for you to create books and dvds I sure think your family holds an enormous wealth of skill and inspiration. Is it ok for me to hope that things would just click?!! First things first in all pursuits and the smiles on those kids faces sure say everything. Don't feel pressure just know that your readers see tremendous value in your approach with education and the faith. I feel privileged to be your reader. God bless!


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