Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Have you ever been to the ocean? What memories do you have of the ocean?

  • Is the ocean frightening or beautiful? Or both?

  • The painter, Gustave Courbet, had a close view of the ocean from his window. If you were to paint a picture of a place that is special to you, what place would you paint and why?

  • This work of art uses thick paint that we can see built up on the canvas. Courbet spread thick paint around with a tool called a palette knife. Would the painting look different if Courbet had used less paint and the surface was flat? Why do you think he chose to create thick layers of paint?

  • Courbet's friend and fellow artist Paul Cezanne said he felt like he was at the beach when he looked at this painting. Do you agree? Why or why not? If you could step into this scene, what would you smell? What would you hear? What would you feel?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Have the students do a story starter beginning with the sentence: "A giant wave swells above you as you stand on the beach...".