Hudson River school artists wanted their light-filled landscapes to teach lessons about God. The beauty of the landscapes, and the realistic details of foliage, skies, and clouds weren’t just to celebrate nature, but to show God’s glory and power in creation, and His continuing care of it all.
- A room that can be darkened
- leaves and other small objects
- the Bible
- the link to the painting Autumn on the Hudson River by Jasper Cropsey, so you can see its detailshttps://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.46474.html
- pictures of animals and plants
Gather your children in a room you an darken and discuss how hard it is to see details of the leaves and other objects you collected. Depending on how dark the room is, it’s also hard to see much color.
Now open the curtains or turn on the lights and look at all the details and colors of the objects, especially the veins in the leaves.
Now look at the painting by Jasper Cropsey. He has illuminated his whole scene with that light. We can see every detail!
He’s painted sunbeams coming through the clouds in the afternoon when the sun’s rays are longer and warmer, making his landscape look warm and peaceful to remind us of God’s loving care of every detail of His creation. Read together, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2-3 NIV)
God created each of His creatures, and He continues to care for them!
Look at the pictures that you gathered of animals and plants and ask what are some of the ways God cares for each one. For example, how the bright colors of flowers attract bees and other insects to cross pollinate them. Ask how a rabbit can blend in with grass and bushes. How does a woodpecker’s bill differs from a duck’s, and why. How does each bird get its food? Read together, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26 NIV)
God created each one of us, and He continues to care for us!
Ask children what are some of the ways God has cared for them. For example, discuss how their eyes can see colors and can see into the distance or close-up. Ask what are some of the many ways they can use their hands and fingers. Read together “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)
God created everything that exists and He continues to care for All of His creation!
We can also look into the distance to see some of the biggest things – the mountains, the sky, and the river. Cropsey wrote that the sky was a beautiful gift of the Creator and encircled the earth “like a halo. Read together, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2 NIV)
Prayer: Dear God you created everything from the smallest leaf to the tallest mountains, and all the bright stars above us. You have wonderfully made each of us, too! We praise You for creation’s beauty and the careful care You give to every part of it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Molly and I hope you enjoyed looking at how Autumn on the Hudson River can help us understand some Spiritual truths!
Be sure and come back for our next post. It’ll be an art project for younger children, based on Cropsey’s painting.
I love these Kathy, great activities for the not so creative me to do with my grandkids
Sue Hulett firstname.lastname@example.org 817-602-5617
Thank you, Sue! I know how much you treasure Your grandchildren and the times you have with them, so I’m glad these ideas are helpful. I bet you have lots of ideas, too, of places to visit (one of your super powers!) and family activities to enjoy! Stay safe, my friend!
Kathy, I always enjoy how you tie in spiritual applications with your art lessons. But this particular lesson truly stands out. I love all the beautiful photographs.
Becky, thank you so much! Your comment means a lot to me because you are a fellow teacher and grandmother who knows how important (and fun it is) when we can engage our children and grandchildren in learning, especially in spiritual truths! And you are so good at that as you pass on family traditions in your children’s books!