Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Art Theme, Week 8 (Space)

We made it to the last week of our art theme-- huzzah! It was a really fun theme, but it was also challenging to finish because our homeschool day is undergoing a major shift toward more child-directed and project-based learning. The upshot of sticking through all eight elements of art is that we have a great foundation in how to discuss art moving forward.

For our final week, we focused on the element of Space, which involves creating the illusion of depth on a flat surface. First Sprout did a great job looking through pieces of artwork and finding the different techniques that could be used (to be honest, Second Sprout pretty much tuned out here-- probably a good sign that she wasn't ready for it). We also really enjoyed looking at the works of Mary Cassatt and talking about how she revolutionized art by painting pictures of women and children going about their ordinary lives. First Sprout is starting to pick up the threads on this sort of historical context, which is exciting for me.

We finished our "Art Smart" anchor chart, painted with perspective, and experimented with a new-to-us medium of chalk pastels. The sprouts LOVED blending with the chalk pastels, and I have a feeling it is going to be a new fan favorite. The only challenge was making sure that no one blew chalk dust everywhere, so I had to make that a one-and-done rule to keep everyone's lungs healthy. Without further adieu, I'm going to share a bunch of pictures from our adventures in art this week.

First Sprout's independently initiated painting using techniques of perspective. The dots in the background are people in the distance compared to the larger person up close.

Third Sprout loved the bright colors and new texture of chalk pastels.

First Sprout's still life in chalk pastels. She chose the subject independently.

Second Sprout's still life in chalk pastels (she liked First Sprout's idea and replicated it in her own style).

Everyone hard at work exploring their new art tools.

Saving the least exciting for last, here's a look at our final "Art Smart" anchor chart.

Thanks for sticking with me for the last few weeks of our Art Theme. It's been a lot of fun and very informative, but it's definitely time for us to take what we've learned and move forward. We are devoting more of our school day toward Project-Based learning, which the sprouts and I are really excited about. Although I had considered using this week to wrap-up and do a "final" sort of art project, the sprouts have fully-embraced Project-Based Homeschooling and taken up their own things. First Sprout is immersed in designing and sewing doll clothes, while Second Sprout has embraced building. I am mostly tasked with sitting back, observing, and recording the proceedings. That sort of active watching is challenging for me, but I know it will be worth it in the long run to give the sprouts some more independence.

Eventually I hope to have some more things to share about our journey with PBH, but the weekly blog posts will probably cool for awhile. Until next time,

Happy Learning!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Art Theme, Week 7 (Form)

We are nearing the end of our Art Theme, and thankfully we've managed to maintain our interest! First Sprout is back to enjoying the projects a lot more, especially since I've loosened my expectations and allowed her more freedom to simply explore the materials. For week 7, we took a look at the art element of Form and the work of artist Andy Warhol.

We were fortunate enough to find a neat book at the library featuring work of many artists contemporary with Warhol. (I believe that it was titled Art In the Time of Andy Warhol.) It had a wonderful array of painting, sculpture, photography, and performance art that were perfect for us to use in our discussion on form. We also read Josefina by Jeannette Winter, which is gorgeous book about Josefina Aguilar, a real-life Mexican folk-artist who sculpts and paints clay figures. We were inspired by Josefina to work with some air-dry modeling clay.

Later in the week, we looped back to Warhol with a narrower focus on some of his pop art prints. I found this super cool activity from Seeds Network that uses highlighters over top of printed photographs to re-create some of the funky, pop-art vibe of Warhol's work. I printed photos of each of the kids out on cardstock and let them go to town. It was lots of fun!

Lighter-colored markers and highlighters were great tools for the pop-art photo project.

First Sprout shares her funky, finished photo.

Second Sprout works to fill in her big blocks of space with color.

Overall we had a great week with our Art Theme (although some of our other subjects were still tough!). This will probably be the last theme that I plan for awhile since I want to give the sprouts an opportunity to explore some more Project-Based learning and self-directed studies. I'm excited to be moving in a new direction, but the planner in me is completely anxious. I know that Project-Based Homeschooling will be a big learning experience for all of us, and I'm super motivated by pouring over Camp Creek Blog for ideas. The sprouts have already been kicking around plans for what they want to study next, so I might be able to start sharing some of that process soon. In the meantime, we are on to our last (official) week of Art Theme by learning about the element of Space and the works of Mary Cassatt. We make have a wrap-up project or two for the following week to give us some closure, but we should be ready to move on by November. Ch-ch-changes ahead.

Until next time,

Happy Learning!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Art Theme, Week 6 (Texture)

We did indeed end up taking a week off in between parts 5 and 6 of our Art Theme; however, it wasn't quite the relaxing break I had anticipated. As usual, life threw us a curve ball and we would have needed the week off to handle things anyway. But rather than take a second week break, I decided that perhaps we were better off trying to press forward and wrap things up before we switched gears.

So last week, we continued learning about the art element Texture and the works of Wassily Kandinsky. I actually ended up creating my own book of photographs showing texture as a way to expand the sprouts' vocabulary beyond "bumpy" and "smooth." It ended up being a great photographic exercise that left me feeling a bit like one of my children's book idols, Tana Hoban.

After introducing the idea of texture and vocabulary, we used a macro lens attachment for my smart phone to go on a "texture hunt." The sprouts searched throughout the house for items with really interesting textures that we could photograph up close with the lens. The results were stunning, and we ended up printing the photographs the same afternoon.

First Sprout's macro photography of a dress-up dragon cloak.
Second Sprout's macro photography of a bean bag.

We also learned about the work of Wassily Kandinsky through viewing his art and reading The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock (with illustrations by Mary GandPre!). The idea of painting what you feel rather than painting what you see seemed to resonate with First Sprout especially. She ended up being motivated to draw a Kandinksy-inspired work right away.

First Sprout's Kandinsky-inspired artwork.
I had originally planned to try this Circles in Felt activity, but it turned out that regular old markers ended up taking precedence that day. It's a super neat idea though (and what a way to tie texture and Kandinsky together!) so I think I'll keep it in my pocket for a snowy day.

Next up, we are going to explore the element of Form and the works of Andy Warhol. The following week, we will be wrapping up with the element of Space and the art of Mary Cassatt. It's hard to believe that we are so close to finishing our thematic study of art and the first 9 weeks of school!

Until next time,

Happy Learning!