Friday, February 20, 2015

I am blessed with a daughter who has an extreme love of art. 
Though I come from a family containing an abundance of talented artists, I do not consider myself overly talented or educated in that area. Beyond a deep appreciation for art, and a sketchbook for dabbling now and then, I have but a perfunctory knowledge. 

So when I came across the idea of studying an artist-a-month, I thought that would be a fun way for us all to learn about the masters, and explore different techniques, while encouraging Margaret's interests.
(Thanks to my sister who allowed me to flip through her project idea books as I rested in recovery from having Hattie, while she showed her super-Auntie skills and helped the kids with some crafts...and cooked supper, too!)

I decided to combine it with the Composer-a-month idea too, and in January I sat down and scribbled out a list of the all the big name masters I would like to cover this year. 

January was Monet & Mozart. 

I copy and pasted some interesting biographical details down for each one, along with a corresponding portrait, and the first week we spent learning a little bit about the life of the artist. I have found that the short little video bios on have been fun and informative (while staying short and sweet!) for the kids to watch.

The second week is the kids' favorite.... they get to copy some masterpieces!

Margaret's copy of Monet's: Women in the Garden

William's copy of Monet's: Jean Monet on his horse-tricycle

Amelia's copy of Monet's: In the Norvegienne
(love the choice of colors! :) )

Even Susannah created a masterpiece!
(As well as trying to drink the cup of paintbrush water...)

It's fun to let the kids pick out their favorite work of art to copy, and to see what appeals to them.

February was Rembrandt, and my all time favorite...J.S. Bach. 
Naturally there was some curiosity concerning the portraits of plump nudes that were scattered throughout Rembrandt's collection, (uh-oooh... Mama, why are they being immodest???) but we managed to choose more interesting and appropriate topics, like the presenting of Goliath's head to Saul.

Margaret's copy of Rembrandt's wife: Saskia as Flora.
(Unfortunately Margaret had some difficulty from her little toddler sister adding her own artistic interpretations on top of Margaret's intricately detailed dress pattern, but she attempted to remedy the disaster with a kind heart.)

William's copy of Rembrandt's: David Presenting the head of Goliath to King Saul.

 Amelia's copy of Rembrandt's: The Incredulity of St. Thomas

The third week of the month we cover the biographical highlights of our composer, and all month long we listen to their great works. (I found the "Big Box" collections to be  nice, and affordable! additions to our musical library.) And the fourth week? I'm still rolling around ideas for how we might make further explorations. Perhaps a fun music theory game, or learning a little motif from the more famous compositions, or an occasional field trip to a related museum exhibition or concert...

It is also fun to see what funny little biography tidbits the kids pick up on. Like how impressed they were with Mozart's full name (Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart), or his pet starling that whistled the opening theme to one of his piano concertos, or the fact that Rembrandt used his Jewish neighbors to model for his Biblical scenes. 

Can't wait to see what we will learn in the upcoming months! 
Who are your favorite artists or composers?


  1. ooh! I love this idea!
    The copy paintings are very impressive. You should do Michelangelo and Chopin. Or Beethoven and Renoir. :)