20 December, 2009

Paul Klee Picture Study

Before starting our art classes using the book Discovering Great Artists, I was dubious about much of what we call "modern art". However, I have come to appreciate much of the art we have been looking at, mainly for the art itself. I don't want to delve too deeply into the hidden meanings of the pieces, or into the artist's lives themselves, I am simply trying to enjoy the art for itself. In the case of Mondrian and Matisse, I have enjoyed their work and see it as more in the category of "design." I'm not sure if these waffly thoughts are making much sense to anyone - but basically, we have enjoyed having a go at replicating these artists' paintings or just using them as inspiration to have a go ourselves. We are also enjoying recognising Mondrian designs everywhere we go! Even my brother's new business cards are based on a Mondrian design!

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the work of Paul Klee. As with a lot of artists, apart from Geninne Zlatkis's water colour inspired by Klee I had never heard of him before.

Paul Klee was a Swiss painter, of German nationality. His father was a music teacher, and his mother, a trained singer. Klee loved dabbling in the visual arts as a teenager and spent a lot of time drawing in his school books. He especially loved caricature. He earned a Fine Arts degree after which he travelled throughout Italy, studying the master painters and spending time with fellow contemporary artists, such as Kandinsky.

Rose Garden, Paul Klee, 1920.

Paul served with the German forces during World War 2, but with the intervention of his father, was kept from the front line. He ended up painting camouflage on war aircraft! He continued to paint and hold exhibitions during the war, and eventually settled in Switzerland.

Klee struggled with colour, and many of his earlier paintings were black & white. This "long struggle with colour" was eventually overcome and Klee managed to produce over 9000 works. In his best year, 1939, he produced over 1200 works.

The painting below, Ad Parnassum (1932) is considered Klee's masterpiece and the best example of his pointillist style. I love it, it reminds me of a fine mosaic.

The painting below is the one we based our art lesson on, although some of the girls chose to use ideas from some of his others. As with many of Klee's paintings, this one is based on building blocks. Doesn't it just remind you of those coloured wooden blocks you played with as a child? Klee also often added a sun to his paintings.

Thanks to Kathy Barbro, of Art Projects for Kids for the idea for our lesson plan.

We had the girls use a set of plastic shapes to trace around and either "build" a castle or some other geometrical design. We traced over the lines with a dark coloured oil pastel or crayon, and then filled in the shapes with pastel or watercolour pencils. Here are the results:

Castle by one little friend, age 5.

Castle by another little friend, age 7.

The Landscape of Holland, Ainsley (7), 2009.

Shape City, Emily (9), 2009.

Block Castle, Bethany (11), 2009.

And to top off our last art afternoon for the year, we made these little "gingerbread houses" for afternoon tea:


30 November, 2009

Starry Night

Last week for our Discovering Great Artists lesson, we learned about Vincent Van Gogh. We used his famous painting, Starry Night (above) to copy. We used either black or dark blue paper, some of the children made houses or other buildings with paper collage. We used oil pastels for the landscape and then added stars, moons, clouds and more blue sky with acrylic paints.

Here are the girls' paintings:

Bethany (11 yrs)

Ainsley (7 yrs)

Emily (9 yrs)

Ruby (3 yrs)

Below is another "starry night sky" painting by Van Gogh, it's called

"Starry Night over the Rhone"

I tried my hand at this night-time cafe scene,

"The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum, at Night"

Check out this wonderful website, The Vincent van Gogh Gallery for a wonderful presentation of his paintings and much more.

* * * * * * * * * * *

05 November, 2009

A Light-hearted Take on King Henry VIII

Today for her English, Emily had to write a poem - either funny or serious. Discussion ensued on what she could write about. Bethany was in the middle of a report on King Henry VIII's wives, so I suggested Emily write a limerick about him.

This is what she came up with:

Henry's Wives

by Emily

Two of the wives of Henry the VIII

Had a very fatal fate (beheading)

Two of them were forced,

at the King's command to be divorced.

Then one had died,

and one survived,

and that was the end of the wives.

~ all because he wanted an heir!

Silly Henry!


29 October, 2009

Matisse-inspired Collage Art

This week in our art class, based on Discovering Great Artists, we studied Matisse.
Henri Matisse was born in France in 1869.
Matisse is regarded as the father of the Fauvist movement. His earlier paintings were in the Post-Impressionist style - still recognisable figures, but using strong, bright colours. His style was considered quite shocking for the times.

The Rumanian Blouse, 1940.

When Matisse was diagnosed with cancer in 1941, leaving him wheelchair-bound, he started to experiment with paper cut-outs and collages. This is what we based our artwork on.

Matisse designed this stained glass window for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence.
It is called the "Tree of Life"

This collage is called "The Beasts of the Sea":

This collage reminded us of sea-weed or a bush.

And apparently, you can't study Matisse without studying this paper collage:
See if you can find the animal depicted!

If you guessed a snail, you're right! If not, I can't blame you!
These are our collages inspired by Matisse.

Check out Kathy Barbro's great site, Art Projects for Kids, for some great art lesson ideas and a Mini Abstract Mural set. This set contains a PDF file of three different abstract murals, inspired by famous abstract artists. I used a page from the Marisse mini mural for a colouring page in the bottom centre of the photo above (I haven't finished yet!).
Barb (Harmony Art Mom) also has a great entry on studying Matisse here, including links to activities and a biography of Matisse.


22 October, 2009

1. My favourite colour is purple

2. I LOVE licorice, especially allsorts and RJ's Natural Licorice.

3. I nearly finished a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Zoology.

Maybe one day I'll finish it...

4. I am the oldest of 6 children (3 boys and 3 girls)

5. I have lived in 16 different homes, 7 before I was married, and 9 after.

6. I have passed grade 7 practical piano, thanks to my parents providing me

with lessons and encouraging me to practice every day. I love that I can

now sit down and play a piece for pleasure.

7. I never play piano in church because I get too nervous.

8. I lived in Australia for four years.

9. I rode a camel in Adelaide, South Australia.

10. I love diagramming sentences.

11. I am scared of spiders, but I have held a giant weta.

12. I have only been to the South Island of New Zealand once, to a

youth camp.

13. I cannot figure out why homeschoolblogger doesn't let me space between lines on my blogposts when I change the font...

Thanks Jeanne, at A Peaceful Day, for nominating me with this award:

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog

3. Link the person who nominated you

4. Name 7 things about yourself no-one would really know (see above)

5. Nominate 7 other bloggers and let them know they are nominated...

I nominate:

1. Dana at School for Us

2. Barb at Harmony Art Mom

3. Keri at Sunny Scholars

4. Jimmie at Jimmie's Collage

5. Tisha at Art with Mrs Smith

6. Sarah at The Forest Room

7. Renae at Life Nurturing Education


Mondrian Art

Today we had our first art lesson with a friend of mine and her children. We are using the book Discovering Great Artists.

and art cards from Child-sized Masterpieces:

The first artist we chose to study was Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1872. Earlier in his career, he painted traditional Dutch landscapes, but after moving to Paris his style gradually changed to an abstract, cubist style, which he is more famous for:

We all had a go at our own designs, inspired by Mondrian's work, and stuck to using only the primary colours to fill in some of the spaces.

We used graph paper to decide where our lines would be, then traced them onto thicker paper with a sharpie pen and coloured random spaces with either felt-tip markers or oil pastels.

This is what we came up with:

When you first look at Mondrian's paintings, it is easy to think that they are just lines and bits of colour here and there. But my friend and I commented to eachother on the different ways the girls (we have all girls of school age) chose to place their lines, and which ones to colour in. Some were very symmetrical, some chose to do lots of little lines and others even chose to add in diagonal lines. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for our next art lesson.

For some more ideas on art lessons based on Mondrian's paintings, check out Art with Mrs Smith - there's even a Mondrian cake!

Barb at Harmony Art Mom shares how she uses Child-sized masterpieces here.


And to complete the "Arts on Thursday" picture, we listened to one of our new Psalms CDs by Jason Coghill, whom we were so blessed to have listened to in person at church last night.

18 October, 2009

Gutenberg's Printing Press

Today in Story of the World, we learned about the beginning of the Renaissance, and how Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.

Here us a Youtube video explaining how the printing press worked:

Demonstrating the Gutenberg Printing Press

This is a post by Jeanne at A Peaceful Day about a beautiful pop-up story book of Gutenberg.


Bethany's Narration:

Johannes Gutenberg made a printing press from an old winepress. He stamped the letterblock with ink made from soot and linseed oil, and put it in a type of folder. Then he turned a wheel and a lever to flatten it, squeezing the paper and the block together. Then he turned the wheel back to push the folder back and took the paper out. On it would be printed the words that were on the letterblock.


Emily's Narration:

His printing press worked like this: taking raw cow hide leather he soaked it in cow wee overnight then rinsed it by hand. Then using ink made of linseed oil and soot, and a roller, he rolled the ink onto the leather. (This refers to the "pounders" he used to pound the ink onto the letterblock).

Next he carefully placed a piece of paper in a folder-like thing called a frisket. He placed the inked leather on his machine. He then rolled the frisket with the paper in it over the leather and turned a lever to press the ink onto the paper.

On the youtube video the man demonstrating printed a page of the Gutenberg Bible. It had a space left for when it got illuminated and illustrated. For Monks writing book by hand it would take years to print the entire Gutenberg Bible. Johannes Gutenberg and twenty helpers printed 450 Bibles in one year. The very first book he printed was the Gutenberg Bible.


Gutenberg is credited with printing the first Bible. He also printed paper indulgences, sold by the Roman Catholic church to pardon the buyer from of his sins. This is what sparked Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses, which where 95 reasons why the church should not sell indulgences. Luther had studied the book of Romans which convinced him that God promises forgiveness to all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour.


Here is a picture of a page from one of Gutenberg's Bibles:


Gutenbergprinted the text, leaving a blank space for the illumination of the first letters of a chapter. The illumination and decoration was completed by monks.


08 October, 2009

Indulging Light Exhibition

A couple of weeks ago, I took the girls to see this exhibition:

The girls (grades 5-8, 9-12 years) from Carncot school had been to the Monet & the Impressionists Exhibition earlier in the year.

They also visited the Wellington Botanic Gardens to photograph water lilies to help them in their own artwork. The girls had studied the effects of light on the water lilies and used Monet's paintings as inspiration for their own beautiful paintings. The girls had started with charcoal & white paint, then progressed on to coloured pastel and oil paintings, all inspired by Monet's water lilies.

The paintings were absolutely beautiful and this was accentuated by the presentation. The paintings were hung in groups creating a striking display of all Monet's favourite colours - purples, pinks & blues. The coloured pastel water lilies were hung only at the top edge, so that they represented the ripples of the water.

The girls also made clay water lilies, which were lovely to look at in 3-D.

The girls had kept a scrapbook of the entire project, embellished with origami water lilies and full of beautiful ideas & commentaries on their art adventure. They had designed their own brochure and came up with the name for the exhibition.

We had missed the official public exhibition, but I rang the principal and she graciously arranged for us to come and view it.

I was so grateful to be able to visit this exhibition with my children, and it has certainly given me lots of new ideas for art and an even greater appreciation for Monet's paintings - and ultimately, God's amazing creation!

The Carncot girls had produced a calendar featuring their work. Here are some examples:


31 August, 2009

Pukaha Mt. Bruce

A few weeks ago we visited Pukaha Mt. Bruce with my sister, her husband and their two little boys. Pukaha Mt. Bruce is a Department of Conservation reserve, specifically set up for the purpose of captive breeding in order to preserve the kiwi, our most popular native bird. The reserve also looks after other native birds and houses the elusive tuatara.

It was difficult to take pictures of the birds as they were amongst bush and too far away, but I will show you some pictures we did get.

These are not birds (obviously!) but the children all found the eel feeding interesting. These NZ native
long fin eels swim all the way to Pacific waters near Tonga to spawn. The larvae return to NZ in the ocean currents. They only breed once in their lifetime and are considered to be a threatened species.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of our day was the Kaka feeding. The kaka are a cheeky native bird and are lots of fun to watch at feeding time.
They were fed a spread of jam-water, fruit, nuts, veges and seeds. The kaka know to come to the feeding area at 3 pm each day. We arrived there just before that, and not long after between 30 and 40 kaka came swooping into the feeding green from the trees around us. They would swoop right across our heads into the feeding stations.
The kaka are known as the "clowns of the forest" as they bicker over their food and tumble through the trees, hanging from their feet or bills. They were lots of fun!

A kaka nesting box.

The Takahe are a funny looking bird. They have beautiful bright coloured feathers and came out for viewing this day!

There are less than 200 of these flightless birds left in New Zealand.

These little New Zealand natives are also quite cheeky, and love to spend their lunchtimes rolling down hills ;-)

I must give credit to Bethany for most of these photos.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...