Friday, June 19, 2009

Picture Study Ah-Ha Moment

Don't you just love it when you have one of those moments? You know...when something just finally clicks. I had one of those today and it was glorious!

I have a strong desire for my boys to not only learn their 3 R's but to be educated in the fine arts as well. At this age, that comes in the form of picture study. Look at a work of art closely, ask them a few questions about it or have them describe it, and tell them a bit about the artist. Seems simple enough. Well, it wasn't that easy for me. I was having a difficult time figuring out who we were going to study and then which works. I was stuck.

So, one day I just decided that my desktop wallpaper was going to be a rotating display of art. I chose a painting by Renoir first. Without doing anything "formally", they asked a few questions about it and I asked them a few questions back. To be honest, it did not go the way I had hoped. They really were not interested. But, at least they are being exposed to it.

Well, then today we did another lesson from our unit study on Pirates. We are using this guide from We looked at this picture by Howard Pyle...

I didn't have high hopes about our discussion, I just wanted them to look closely at it. Well, after a total meltdown from Magnus over me asking him, "What do you think is going though that man's mind as he is standing on the plank?", I thought all was lost. After we got to the heart of why Magnus was crying...maybe I'll post about that another time, but let me just say that it is hard raising a highly creative and imaginative kid and he is dealing with challenges of that as well (poor kid)...I couldn't get him or Thane to stop talking about it! They were making connections, getting emotional and telling stories just from this one picture! IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

So onto my ah-ha moment. This is something we *can* do. And to keep them interested in it I have decided that we are going to study artists and pictures that they would be interested in. Knights, Pirates, Cowboys and Indians, battles, ect. You know...boy stuff. We already have big coffee table books on Winslow Homer, N.C. Wyeth, and John William Waterhouse (a personal favorite). What boy wouldn't want to look more closely at this...

or this...

Needless to say, I am excited about this. We'll get to Monet, Renoir, and Michelangelo soon enough.

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