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Vermeer painting of girl

Modern-Day Vermeer

In this week’s book, Chasing Vermeer, Petra and Calder saved a famous painting by paying attention to details and never giving up. They also learned that there are imitation Vermeer paintings that people used to think were the real thing!

For this week’s art activity, we’re not going to make an imitation Vermeer, we’re going to make a modern Vermeer! Here’s the challenge:

Look at the catalogue of Vermeer’s paintings and choose your favorite. Think about the person (or people) in the painting. Do you think they’re rich or poor? Young or old? Kind or unkind? Now imagine that person alive today instead of in Vermeer’s time. What would they be wearing? What would their hair look like? Most importantly, what would they be doing?

Next, figure out how you can make your modern Vermeer still look similar to the real Vermeer. Can your person wear the same colors? Be sitting or standing in the same position? How can you show that it’s the same person, just in a different time? 

This is the composition of your picture–what shapes and colors are on which parts of the paper–and it’s the part you want to match Vermeer as much as possible.

Drawing of scientist woman

This is a difficult job! I know because I did a similar activity in school…in a college art class! I picked The Lacemaker and decided that if she were alive today, she’d be going to college and she’d probably be a scientist. (I wonder where I got that idea?)

It’s a really good idea to use a pencil to sketch everything first, then use whatever you want–colored pencils, paints, markers–to fill in your colors. (I used colored pencils because I don’t really know how to paint.) 

Like Petra and Calder, remember to pay attention to all the little details. And have fun making your modern Vermeer!

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