Art Studies

*This is another post I've moved over from Homesteading on Grace. It's from last year, but we so loved these little art studies that I plan on continuing with them again this year.*

Kind of like our Hymn Studies, this year I've pieced together some art studies that have been great. It's very laid back and mostly free. The kids have loved it, and I hope they are learning a little art appreciation.

It's a simple plan really. This year we are studying American history, so I searched for American artists. For this first semester, I picked artists from as early as I could find. I also tried to avoid the names we all know. (I know the kids don't now, but they will study well-known artists several times in their lifetimes.) But I didn't pick artists who were so obscure there isn't much information easily found on them.

I chose one artist for each week, and printed off a few examples of the artist's popular pieces or distinct technique. The most I printed were 4 prints, and if we needed more to examine, we looked at them on the computer. We could make do without printing, but I like having some to touch and study. I tape them up on the wall in our school room with the name of the artist above the prints.
I also read a little background story on each artist, not much, but just so I can explain to them what the artist was doing, or anything interesting about his story. We'll read some of the biographies, but I'm not expecting them to learn much more than the name what kind of art he/she did. When Eowyn decided she wanted to do a presentation on Benjamin West, we did make notes for her to say when he was born and died, where he lived, etc. But this is more about exposure and observation than dates, people, and history. If they were older, I would do things a bit differently.

Each morning, the kids are to look at the prints and notice something new about it. The details, the colors, the subject, the poses. Simple things, really, but it's getting them to look at a piece of art and notice what makes it different.

At the end of the week, we try to use the observations to create our own works in the fashion of our artist. This is, of course, the most fun for the kids. So far, we've done portraits like John Singleton Copley, historical pieces like Benjamin West, and miniatures like James Peale, and this week we'll try to make illustrations for money like John Trumball.

Like, I said, light and easy! I could add to it, but I'm pretty happy with it as it is. What kind of art studies do you do?

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