Irises by Monet

Irises were among Monet’s favorite flowers. They lined the pathways leading up to the house and Japanese bridge on the artist’s property at Giverny. 
Monet applied thick purples, blues and green paint using bold strokes. The effect was possibly induced by his poor vision.
If you need a one day project, this is a masterpiece!
1st grade students created these charming paintings with oil pastels and tempera paints. After viewing images of his home and garden, students selected a piece of construction paper, then dragged and rubbed 2-3 oil pastels across their paper. 
Next, students “tapped” their brushes into various shades of green paint and painted the iris stems. We chose to paint 5-7 stems.
Lastly, students painted the flower blooms with shades of purples and used just a bit of yellow to represent the center part of the flower.
Fields of Poppies Monet





What you will need

  • 12 x 7  in. Construction Paper: Purple, Pink, Magenta, Light Blue
  • Tempera Paint:  Light and Dark Purple, Light and Dark Green, Yellow and White
  • Oil pastels
  • Flat 1/2 Brushes


  • Abby Schukei

    January 22, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I might have to try this out with my Kindergarten classes! What grade did you do this with? They look so nice!

  • Paintedpaper

    January 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks Abby! I did this projects with 1st grade. 🙂

  • Mary

    January 24, 2015 at 3:37 am

    I really like the textured background against the painted Irises! I am always inspired by your themed art lessons.

  • Hope Hunter Knight

    January 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Gorgeous – you do such a good job teaching them painting techniques – they all feel very fresh

  • zarah nitsa

    February 28, 2015 at 5:17 am

    These are adorable and beautiful color images.
    Zarah from Bizbilla B2B portal

  • Andi

    March 17, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Laura,
    What size paper is this, and it looks like you gave the kids paper in Monet’s palette: pink, lilac, pink, blue.
    This is a great project and can’t wait to try it (after O’Keefe’s poppies)

    1. Laura

      March 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Andi, Thanks for the kind words, 12 x 7 construction paper in Pink, Lilac, Light Blue, and Magenta.

  • Andi

    April 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    I’m doing this project on Monday, and can’t wait.
    Do you see any downside of doing this project a little bigger, say 17 x 10? (Same proportions)
    Also, did you mix up the light/dark purple and light/dark green for them ahead of time, or have the kids mix their own extra colors? Any tips on what the color tints and shades would be appreciated.

    Finally, did you limit which colors of oil pastels they could use, or let them choose on their own. I’m a little concerned some will choose dark brown or black.

    Thanks again,

    1. Laura

      April 14, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Hi Andi,
      First, I say make it bigger! I had a small display area to work with so I had to restrict my size of paper. Second, If I need to save time I do mix colors ahead of time, but if you have time available let them mix. Kids love mixing paint. I use basic purple and white tempera with a few drops of blue then mix together. When using the oil pastels, I always take out the black and browns. I tend to have more colorful oil pastels selected for them to choose from. Happy Creating! 🙂

      1. Andi

        April 14, 2017 at 11:04 am

        Perfect, thanks.
        If I make it 10 x 17 would you still use 1/2 inch flat brushes, or 3/4?
        And do you give them water cups for rinsing between colors, or paper towel?
        I usually give kids a paper palette to test out their colors before using, so I will let them mix.
        How do you make the dark green/light green? Do you put black in at all? I was imagining green with a dab of yellow and maybe a little white for the lighter. I will try it out this weekend.
        And Happy Passover, if you celebrate that.

        1. Laura

          April 17, 2017 at 7:40 am

          Hi Andi, We wipe off extra paint on our paint placemats-messy mats. I never use water with tempera because it waters it down. The dark green and light green paint is purchased from Dick Blick. To make lighter green add yellow and to make a dark green you could add touch of black. The brushes~ I would still use 1/2 for the Irises. Happy Painting. 🙂

  • Ellen

    May 24, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Just did these with my Kinders! Great lesson! It was so easy for them to feel successful!!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

Next Post