Thursday, October 20, 2011

Art is Great, Especially if There's a Scandal!

Art has become a good fit in our curriculum; both Max and I enjoy learning about artists and their work.  He declared yesterday that he likes Jackson Pollock's paintings - wouldn't it be fun to get out some tarps and canvases and paint Pollock style?  Nobody says you can't.  That's what I find most likeable about homeschooling!

We have been slowly working through this book and in the process get to appreciate some modern art.  Plus we have had to hone our eagle eyes to spot similarities in details and figure out which artist painted which painting.  It's not that easy!  So far we've sat with this book in short bursts over three days; there is a lot of detail to discriminate.  The best part for Max has been trying to find the rogue painting.  What I like about this mystery is that the child needs to construct a table or come up with something similar to keep track of all of the information in a logical format, otherwise it's just too complicated to try and do in your head. 

Same concept, same fun.  Identify 16 of 36 paintings that are forgeries and solve the mystery before the auction takes place.  Author and art historian Anna Nilsen has another similar book in her repertoire for children called Art Fraud Detective.  Any of these titles will keep you occupied with fine art for several hours.

Art pieces from 22,000 B.C. to 1964 A.D. with summarized backgrounds and historical importance.  This book is perfect for the overstuffed chair and a blanket to snuggle up in together.

My favorite take-away from this book is learning that Picasso had a pet goat who used to follow him in and out of his house.  That's charming!  This book helped to capture Picasso's personality as an artist, from his grumpy mornings (Picasso was not a morning person!) to his affection for his children and the animals he surrounded himself with.  The cover does a good job of laying the groundwork for Picasso's playful side.

On the shelf, waiting to be read.

"The name on the painting isn't the artist's only signature. Recognizing an artist's work may seem a mystery at first, but it can be as easy as spotting a friend's handwriting. Containing full-color photos of 12 masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, this book gives clues to identifying his paintings through color, line, shape, composition, and more."  Author Richard Muhlberger has published other books which concentrate on Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Raphael, Cassatt and Goya, and more, too.

I picked up an inexpensive table easel ($5-$6)  at Hobby Lobby and some canvases at 40% off last week.  Drawing with pencils, pens and Sharpies crops up weekly, too.  Just having some materials handy is a pleasant reminder that art can become an important aspect of life.

Mark Kistler offers up some engaging art instruction via his website called Imagination Station; three summers ago Max attended a week-long art camp with Mark and enjoyed his humorous and encouraging approach.  The Homeschool Buyer's Co-Op offers discounts on subscriptions to Kistler's online programs, so watch for those if you are interested.  

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