1.20.2009

Art Mondays: Landscapes


I love art. My obsession began when I was a little girl - I grew up right outside of Washington, D.C. and my parents took us to the Smithsonian museums all the time, most often the National Gallery, consequently one of my most favorite places in the world. Once I threw up there (right by the rotunda). Another time a friend and I pretended we were sick and wheeled around in wheel chairs (I'm not sure why we did this). Another time our seventh grade went there and some kid stuck a Hari-Krishna sticker ("be happy!") right on a Botticelli. Two out of the four times I ever skipped school were to go there (I know, I am such a nerd - one of the other times was to watch the whole 8 hours of Anne of Green Gables & Anne of Avonlea with my friend Suzanne because I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you). I've taken/dragged all (3) of my significant boyfriends there, and continue to bring boyfriend-3-now-husband and our 3 kids to it as often as I get the chance (which is a lot less now that I live in California and my parents are in Florida for a three year stint, volunteering for our Church). All of this is to make the point that I love art and I really, really, really, really want my children to find the same kind of joy looking at it that I get. It doesn't take anything but your eyes and heart to be moved by a great painting - no fancy clothes or money (*except if you have to buy a ticket to get in to the museum. Another reason that I love the National Gallery - totally free).

I've mentioned before that I'm the art mom in my son's second grade class - my son's teacher is nice enough to let me come in once a week and we have an hour to talk about great artists and great art, and then do a project based on what we've learned (definitely one thing that I've found is that the talking part needs to be really short). The first part of the year (and last year) I was kind of disorganized, just doing this or that, but I've finally tried to get my act together and write up the lessons in little units (like, landscapes, portraits, etc). Here's the first lesson that's in this format - an introduction to landscapes. I'm trying to make it so that if you are interested in doing a similar kind of thing in your child's class you can (if you need a starting point) print this out and have everything you need information-wise to present a little lesson/activity. I need to make the point though that I'm not an "art education professional" - just a mother with a degree in art history, so take it for what it is and absolutely if you have suggestions - send them my way!

A lot of the art activity ideas I use come from MaryAnn F. Kohl's book Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters, a book I highly recommend if you are at all interested in getting your kids into art. Also great is Sandi Henry's Making Amazing Art! 40 Activities using the 7 Elements of Art Design. Really good resources. I often start with an art activity idea from one of these books and then supplement it with more art history - lots of pictures and hopefully a good story or two (the Smart about Art series is excellent). We have an art timeline on the classroom wall, where we post up small images of famous artists' paintings to try and give a little sense of where the art fits in.

Finally - to find some statistics on the impact of the arts in education, see www.americansforthearts.org.

35 comments:

GinnyBerry said...

How lucky your son's second grade teacher is to have such a wonderful volunteer. Thanks for recommending the book. I've seen it before but now I'll revisit it. We have an Art Day once a year at our school. Each class studies and artist and does work similar to the artist. All of the children's art is displayed outside the classroom on Art Day, and classes tour the school, read about the artists, and see all of the children's work displayed. It is one of my favorite school activities.

myimaginaryblog said...

I need to try some of this with my kids. One of my daughters LOVES to draw and is very good at it -- but she hates museums and "fine art." (Come to think of it, she did enjoy the quilt show at a local art museum. Need to build on that.)

greenchickadee said...

Thanks so much for the references to the books. I've been searching for something to follow in homeschool because I enjoy art, but I'm NOT an artist. Blessings to your lucky kids to have your ability in their home! :)

Kari said...

Our last school had a great art program run by parent volunteers. Comprehensive portfolios and lessons were provided each month. It was by far my most favorite way to volunteer in school. Here's a link to the program: http://www.restonarts.org/education/artintheschools.htm

lynne said...

kari - thank you SO much for that link!!

Tammy said...

I don't need sunbursts or marble either...Love Anne...that's where my youngest got her middle name and her disposition...Hopefully there's a Gilbert Blythe out there for her.

Anyway, I am sure your kids will soak in your love of art. Your home exudes it. it's fun to see them explore and try new things!! Good luck as Art Mom...do you get to wear a cape?!?!? Just checking!!!

Two Mittens said...

You would have been my favorite part of grade 2 if you'd been at my school!

Alexandra said...

great post! thanks for the book recommendations, too. i have to ask, who was bf 1?

andrea said...

I have cried 3 times in museums...once at seeing Rodin, once for (of all things) a shoe print by Andy Worhol and once I cried so hard (I think I had to step outside) because I realized how much I missed art as a regular in my life (after my first daughter was born).

Sometimes I think about homeschooling. But I realize if I did all my daughter would be good at would be art. She obsessed anyway. And you know, we wouldn't be able to help ourselves! Ha ha!

I love art, too! And this post. :) thanks.

lynne said...

jp!

Paloma said...

I feel so please to read about your passion for art...I'm kind of like you. I have a BFA, and studied half of my time of college in Mexico. I love printmaking so much that I gave up all my food money for paper and ink all the time. I loved it...I'm a mom now and I miss the etching press like it was my first love. And because I love to make art with my girls I appreciate your generosity in sharing with the world. Thank you!!

melissa said...

I'm so glad that you come from an art loving family...I totally benefit from this. Your brother (my husband) is the only American man that I know who loves BBC movies, and visiting and discussing art and history. And thank you for writing up a summary of your curriculum. I can't wait to try it out on my kids. I find that if we discuss a painting during dinner, there is a lot less teasing and throwing of food going on. I think kids are naturally drawn to art.

melissa said...

And yes Lynne, I'd like to know if you wear a cape for your art lessons. I'd love to see that! Maybe I could send you my French beret too!

Rubyellen said...

yesterday, as we were watching the inauguration i asked my husband, who used to live in DC, if he missed anything about living there cause I know he didn't really care for it, he likes CA much better. Though, he did say the thing he misses the most are the museums and they were free.

I love art and I wish I was in your son's second grade class! I would love to learn from you, but I am glad you are sharing your lesson here, so now I am learning from you!!! Thank you for sharing this...

sew nancy said...

thanks for the references to the books!
i feel nurturing art education for our children is extremely important.
i've been thinking i need to go on a museum trip- it's been far too long

Susan said...

Lovely post! My kids and I have had a lot of fun with an item called "Art in a Box" by Sarah Richardson. It's full of cards with a work of art on one side & ideas for your own related project on the back. We picked it up at the Tate Modern in London (love that their national museums are free, too!) but you can also order it online from the Tate museum shop.
James Mayhew also makes great books about a little girl named Kate and her adventures with art.

lynne said...

susan, thanks for the tip! i'm going to go check that out on the tate's site.

and yes, we love katie, too!

Joy said...

Thank you for sharing! You make my life much easier...putting all of these great ideas together and even providing the links! Thank you so much!

Joy said...

Thank you for sharing! You make my life much easier...putting all of these great ideas together and even providing the links! Thank you so much!

Joy said...

Thank you for sharing! You make my life much easier...putting all of these great ideas together and even providing the links! Thank you so much!

Bright Ring said...

Thank you for recommending my books (I'm the author). I'm honored! And it's my birthday, too!!!! Happy Day for me.

Please let your friends know that they can find free sample art projects from all of my books on my website. They can go to:
http://www.brightring.com/Fun%20Activities.html
and then go to
http://www.brightring.com/previous.html

Lots and lots of them.

Thank you for your wonderful blog. I can see that you get lots of people interested in what you say.

MaryAnn Kohl
www.brightring.com
"the author" :o)

Bright Ring said...

Oh, I forgot to say that my website has direct clicks to each great masters' art works. Go to these links:
For viewing art by the artists in "Discovering Great Artists" go to:
http://www.brightring.com/artists.html

For viewing art by the masters in "Great American Artists for Kids", go here:
zhttp://www.brightring.com/americanartists.html

Karen L R said...

Lynne and Melissa, I really do enjoy your blog. Every post is fun and inspirational, especially appreciated in January! I have been working hard at it and despite some exasperation, my blog is launched. Check it out. I thank you again for being part of my motivation to begin. -KarenLR

Liz R. said...

i think you should post your oldest daughters blood shed art. very funny and creative! especially coming from a 6 year old girl.

Lauren said...

Thanks for posting all the great resources for teaching art history.

I love taking my kids to museums - partly because mom took us to so many museums growing up.

We have done our fair share of destruction to the museums as well - E touched a Degas at the National Gallery in DC and Abby sat on a 1,000 year old instrument at the MET.

xo

Christy said...

Thanks for those suggestions! I'm an art teacher for a homeschool group and I'm always looking for more ideas for projects. I've used the Incredible Art Department website a lot for ideas. They have lessons for all age groups.

Jen said...

you are the most artistic person i know and i love that about you. i learn from you!
Jen

TftCarrie said...

What a great thing you are doing for your son's class. I hate the "art" that gets done in elementary school that focuses on the product instead of the process.

I was hoping someone on here might have some suggestions for a valentine's themed art history/great artists/great art lesson. Our school is not allowed time during the school day for a "Valentine's Party" but i thought if I could turn it into a lesson and then give them a special art project to do at the end, it would be fun for them.

I have been trying to brainstorm art that incorporates hearts, pinks and reds, and first grade appropriate "love".

lynne said...

what about something having to do with wayne theibaud? he's a contemporary american artist who does the coolest paintings that are often pastel-ish of donuts and cakes. that could be valentine-y, right?

Bethany Hissong said...

Can I say that I love you?!!! Thanks for all of your links!! I was just like you when I was little... and now really! I lived in the Cincinnati Art Museum! It's like home to me. I don't get there much anymore but when I do, it's just like going back to my old house I grew up in. My best friend from college works in the education dept... I'm so secretly jealous!!! My good friend Scott just took an art ed position in Leesburg, Va and can go to the Smithsonians all the time now. We're both jealous of that, right?!! ;) I started taking my children to the little local art museum when they were just in strollers. The docents would cringe when they were toddlers but I taught them how to just look and they were excellent... better than some adults! I think when kids grow up in that atmosphere and are taught how to respect the space and art, then it is a wonderful way to spend time. My kids have been to many of the best museums on the east coast... they've seen the real works by artists that they've studied in school... nothing compares... yet it doesn't amaze them yet!!! I hope that someday it will. It seems they are almost used to seeing amazing works as something that everyone does! I think when they're teenagers, they will get it! Van Gogh's Starry Night blew me away... they just said, "Yeah, we studied that... it looks like mine!!!" HA!!!
I think you're doing a fine job! I used to love doing mock jury trials about "scandalous" works of art... like John Singer Sargent's "Madame X"... is it art? Or any abstracted work.... a little aesthetic debate on the definition of "art" thrown in. The kids love it! I think you can only appreciate a piece of art fully when you've tried the same medium... you realize what the artist was thinking too. Art surrounds us totally... I love when kids realize that! Our whole world is designed by humans... and that which isn't is designed by God... well, everything is designed by God really. Thanks for making me so excited about teaching art this morning!!!

Heather said...

thank you so much for this!! i am thrilled, bc i have grown up loving art as well! now i am homeschooling my children while we are living in london. our first "field trip" was to the national gallery here! my girls, aged 7 and 12, loved looking at all the paintings and even recognized some of them and their artists. i have the books you mentioned in my amazon bag now. thank you so much for sharing your lesson plans. we will definately be following along!

Kellie H said...

oh lynne I need you as my art mom!!! I just love that! I will have to check out Kohl's book. I so need ideas for my kindergarteners as I feel I am not doing art justice. thanks so much for the ideas!

Newburgh Restoration said...

I did the EXACT same drawings when I was a little girl with the lines across the page!

Lisa Thompson said...

Lynne, I will be checking out the books you listed from the library, not just for my children, but for me too! I still am loving "How to Make Books". This might not be of any help since it seems like you are focusing on the 'masters'. But I am a big fan of Quentin Blake and he along with Klutz published a great book with fun drawing exercises to get the juices flowing. I bought a copy thinking that the exercises would be fun to do with my boys. The book is titled "Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered" - http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Artistically-Undiscovered-John-Cassidy/dp/1570543208

superior said...

gucci vintage
gucci online
gucci fashion
gucci uk
gucci bags