Monday, October 11, 2010

How we sometimes learn about Art :)

Thought I'd briefly share about how we SOMETIMES learn about art + art history. It seems to work well for our munchkins right now (aged 8,7 and almost 6).

1. Read aloud
So I read to them from a book that has lots of good examples of the artists' work.
Today we were learning about English landscape artist John Constable. I picked up a three pack of 'The Great Artists' magazines from the warehouse at the tip (where you can take anything home for free. These things are in too good of a condition to be dumped and the kind workers put them aside as freebies for locals who can be bothered to go see if there are any treasures there. I can be bothered! lol!) So this little magazine has info on the life and works of each artist. I read aloud several pages while the kids did things from colouring in to cutting up small pieces of paper- anything that keeps their hands busy while they are listening :)

2. Record
Write down the date of the artist's birth and death (usually) in our Book of Centuries (THIS IS LINK TO THE FREE DOWNLOAD). We bought ours elsehwhere and it is spiral bound but I can't remember where from right now...hmmm...Anyway, Stass in particular is enjoying seeing where things are placed in history in relation to other events. Like today when we marked in Constable's birth she said, "Oh so he was born before Monet was!" The Book of Centuries is basically a blank timeline book that kids/parents can fill in as they go through anything they study and mark down the date.

3. Choose
I ask the kids to choose their favourite artwork (or other image) that we've just looked at. They might say why they like it or I might ask them to chat a bit with me about the lines/textures/light/colours, etc in it...not in too much depth but just enough to get them regularly talking about why that particular work appealed to them.
Then they have a crack at sketching that image onto a canvas.

4. Paint!
Then they get out their palettes (these are new wooden ones Brett picked up a while back on sale - normally it's a plastic icecream lid so don't go thinking we are always this fancy please!) and lather up their brushes in paint and just go for it. Today we talked about painting lighter colours first and then adding the darker ones since you can't take them back once they are on the canvas!

5. Enjoy the end result!
Here's Ethi with his finished painting of the door to the house that Constable and his wife lived in before she died in there from TB. The kids seemed to be fascinated with this part of the story and asked heaps of questions about it. I loved that Ethi even added the yellow flowers in at the side just as it is in the picture from the magazine :)

6. Oral Narration
Over dinner, I asked, 'who can remind us a little about John Constable?' and let each of them have a turn at recalling something they learned today.
They remembered quite a bit. Ethi remembered straight up that Constable's dad was rich and owned a corn mill. Liji added that the big house he lived in as a kid was knocked down in the 1840's. Stass remembered about how in most of his work he puts a dash of red against a green background and a bit of 'snow' white against a brown background - none of them could remember that it was supposed to represent the sun's reflections/light (mind you, neither could Constable's contemporaries so there you go!)

Anyway, that's basically how it unfolds here. Of course, and I'm sure I don't need to add this but just in case there is anyone reading thinking, 'well that sounds too perfect' I will add the following....
All this took about 2 hours to do while the baby was napping.
The phone still rang off the hook.
Dinner was late.
There were no spills of water pots today but that is highly unusual ;)
The canvasses are still drying on the table 4 hours later.
The paints are also still there, now somewhat crusty, 4 hours later.
There were grubby painting finger marks all over the bathroom sink that are still there 4 hours later.
You get the picture ;)

BUT it was all worth it - all fun - and all learning!
And that's how art SOMETIMES happens at our place :)

Love Lus x


kathy said...

Thanks for sharing Lusi. I am looking at ways to make learning here fun but I am scared of the mess LOL. Would be fine if the older ones did it it but the little ones all want a turn too!

lusi said...

I reckon you are doing an amazing job with your beautiful clan Kathy! Looking forward to catching up again soon!
Love Lus x

Christine said...

lovely to see what happens at your place with art 'sometimes'.

Come and live next door and then we can 'sometimes' to it together!


love you guys heaps!

lusi said...

lol - would love to mate!
love lus x

Sarah Slaven said...

Thanks for letting us peek at you art lessons. I love the sound of the book of centuries I am beginning to realise we need something like that to keep track of all of the "Who came first?' "was that before or after?" questions I get.

lusi said...

Hi Sarah - my kids ask me the same things too and this book has been a really good help :) How's life your way mate? Hope camp Slaven is going well!
Love Lus x


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