SAILING THE CATBOAT
Winslow Homer (WINZ lo HOME er) was born in Boston in 1836, the son of a hardware merchant. His mother was an artist and encouraged young Winslow in learning to draw. In 1855 he was apprenticed as a lithographer. At age 19 he was illustrating sheet music covers and then when he was 21, he started working as an illustrator for a new magazine, Harper's Weekly. During the Civil War he worked as a pictorial reporter or illustrator for the magazine.
He went to the war front and painted war scenes. Homer did the cooking and the washing while he was staying with the soldiers. In Home Sweet Home we see the soldiers in the camp. The band in the background is supposedly playing the song "Home Sweet Home". The soldiers are wearing brown boots which they were supposed to polish black, but they were usually too busy.
Prisoners From the Front
A Rainy Day in Camp
After the war he went to Paris and studied for a few months. His greatest talent was in using watercolors. He became one of the best watercolorists ever. He spent time on the coast of England and also in the state of Maine. Many of his paintings such as the featured painting in this lesson Sailing the Catboat reflect the knowledge he gained of the sea and life on the coast. Compare Sailing the Catboat and Breezing Up. They are very similar. How are they alike and how are they different?
The man in the painting The Gulf Stream is in a perilous situation. What are the dangers he is facing? Is there a chance for his rescue?
Summer Night by contrast is a tranquil scene. In his earlier seascapes he put people in the picture. Later he painted scenes that featured only the land and sea.
Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)
The Gulf Stream
He enjoyed painting pictures of children. In his painting Snap the Whip, he shows what life was like in 1872. In this painting, the children are taking a break from their classes in the "little red schoolhouse". The green of the hills and grass make up the largest portion of the painting. Notice how the red color of the schoolhouse stands out, and how your eye is drawn to the white shirts on three of the boys. None of the boys are wearing shoes.
Snap the Whip
Homer would do studies in pencil before he painted a picture. Sometimes he worked with oil paints and sometimes with watercolor. His watercolor pictures provided a very good income for him. Homer liked to be by himself and he never married. For the last 27 years of his life he lived in a remote part of Maine away from people.
Gerlings, Charlotte. 100 Great Artists, New York: Gramercy Books, 2006.
Wilder, Jesse Bryant. Art History for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007.
Civil War pictures
biography with audio version
Paintings by Winslow Homer
National Gallery of Art
look in all three rooms
art lesson - elementary
online interactive art lesson - elementary
Winslow Homer art lesson based on one of Homer's paintings (PDF)
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Winslow Homer
By Grolier Publishing Company
Introduce your young students to the fabulous and fun world of art with the World's Greatest Artists Series. Full-color reproductions and kid-friendly overviews of the artists' life are presented alongside cartoon-characters of the artist, bringing a clever dimension to the series. Fun and educational, these light yet realistic books make an easy and exciting transition into studying the fine arts. Learn about who liked Winslow Homer's paintings, and the styles that make his paintings unique! 32 pages, ages 4-8.
Come Look with Me: World of Play
By Gladys S. Blizzard / Lickle Publishing Inc
Come Look with Me: World of Play is no dry discourse on art history or painting technique. Instead, it pairs quality art reproductions with thought-provoking questions, encouraging the child to enter the painting or sculpture and explore it through the artist's eyes, through the eyes of the people depicted, and through the child's own imagination.
Author, Gladys S. Blizzard has chosen twelve fascinating works of art which, although diverse, all fall into the most child-friendly of themes, people at play. Works range from an ancient Minano fresco and a classic Winslow Homer to a wacky modern basketball game sculpted by Red Grooms in painted wood.
Each work of art is paired with simple, open-ended questions and a brief background on the artist and his or her work. This provides adults with added understanding and a basis for further discussion.
This book can be shared by adults and students at home, in the classroom, in a library or museum. Wherever the setting, readers will enjoy this new way of looking at art. 32 pages, hardcover. Ages 6 and up.
A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS
Online book about Winslow Homer
(full view) Open Library.org
The Life and Works of Winslow Homer
by William Howe Downes (full view)
Article about Winslow Homer
Scribner's Magazine 1914
American painting of the nineteenth century: Winslow Homer
(selected pages) Order here
Preview these Amazon books using the links below.
Nicolai Cikovsky, Franklin Kelly, Winslow Homer,
National Gallery of Art (U.S.), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
Winslow Homer and the Sea
by Carl Little (selected pages)
Winslow Homer Watercolors Cards
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Famous Artists in this Series
Index to Famous Paintings
Lessons for Kids
Picture courtesy of The ArtChive Patron Program
Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin