In the Style of…Monet and the Impressionists

This month we’ve been exploring Monet and Impressionism. The girls have been familiar with Monet because we own the book, Linnea in Monet’s Garden, but we borrowed some more books about Impressionists from our library. (There are many great books about these artists; I only chose these because of what was available from our library, so look on Amazon for more ideas!) We read (many times!) The Magical Garden of Claude Monet, Katie Meets the Impressionists, Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped Trains, Monet Paints a Day, and Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlilies.

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We discussed two main identifying features of impressionist art: using individual brush strokes without blending, and interest in light and how it affects the look of things. M remembered how when looking at the paintings up close, they look like a bunch of jumbled splots, but from far away you can get the idea or “impression” of the subject.

Then we explored with painting in the impressionist style. We loosely followed suggestions from this activity, but this art project sounds fun too. We pretended to be in Monet’s garden, painting his waterlily pond and Japanese bridge. We started making our water with various shades of blue, green and purple. Then highlighted the water with white. M wanted to paint the bridge (the activity we were following made bridges out of construction paper instead and added tissue paper waterlilies, which we did not do). C ended up painting both her arms too. It’s really not surprising that C got more paint on herself than the toddler! The toddler insisted on having all the colors to paint with, but M, C and I stuck with the water hues. I also want to mention that never again will I paint on construction paper, even if it is suggested by the project we are following. It always wrinkles so much when dry! Only use thick painting paper!!

TheLipperLoppyLife: In the Style of...Impressionism

TheLipperLoppyLife: In the Style of…Impressionism

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Musical Imagery

In our household, the girls refer to classical music as “ballet music,” much to my embarrassment. Classical music is so much more than that! So it was a great surprise that they received this book from my Dad as a gift. It’s a picture book about the composer Charles Ives who was inspired by everyday sounds, such as car horns, footsteps, and a ship’s whistle. After reading the story a few times, we listened to the song that the story is about, From Hanover Square North (note that the book does not include a cd; I found the song on YouTube). The girls enjoyed picking out the different street sounds in the piece.

130430 mr ivesWe also borrowed from the library an excellent book/cd set for exploring the imagery that classical music can create, Can You Hear It?. This book pairs classical songs with art, so the children can look at the accompanying art while listening to the song, hearing how the different orchestral instruments make the sounds that evoke the imagery. We are having so much fun with this, listening to bumblebees buzz, graceful skaters skating, or bubbles rising to the surface of the ocean.  Sample songs include Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumlebee, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and excerpts from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. So far we have enjoyed dancing and acting out the imagery, but I think we will also paint/draw along to the music as well. Actually, this book is going to go on my to-buy list, because we all enjoy it so much. The art is beautiful too; it will be a great resource as we are learning about different artists.

130430 can you hear it

And there’s still so much more to explore. I want to look at Story of the Orchestra and The Jazz Fly, for example. Hopefully I will be able to get a new book each week from the library!

Typical Tuesday

Today the girls started with TV again. I need to get better at going to bed at a reasonable time, because this busier schedule makes me a zombie in the mornings! But thank goodness for the cooler weather, as I got to enjoy a delicious cup of french press.

I also think that I made up for the TV time by making chocolate chunk pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Yum!

After getting dressed, we all tumbled outside to collect some nature specimens for sketching. C chose some squash (I don’t even know what kind this is growing in our garden), sunflower seeds and fresh sunflower flowers, and M chose a leaf, dandelion, rock and squash. In the end, we placed them all on the table for everyone to sketch in their art books anyway. We counted 15 petals on one sunflower and 13 on another.

Even the baby insisted on getting in on the action. She sure is getting pretty demanding at participating in everything! (She did mostly just eat the crayon anyway.)

I was already going to chock this up as both an art and science (botany) activity, when, C spotted a surprise! A few bugs/beetles were on one of the sunflowers! We decided to scoop them into our magnifying bug container for a closer look. Then I pulled out our Peterson Insect Guide to try to identify the little buggers. They were brown, beetle-like, about 4 mm long, with six legs and two crazy antennae sticking out from a long snout. At first I was discouraged and thought that I would not be able to figure it out. But then I found it: a snout beetle known as a weevil! I have much more respect for entomologists! Later I printed a weevil coloring page for the girls to color.

 

After observing them for a little while (one escaped the container by crawling through an air hole!) we released them back outside.

Then we decided that we would have an art show tonight after dinner to showcase their work. We did a brief practice run and then made a sign, an invitation to give to Dada, and tickets to the show. M decided that the tickets would cost $5!

Then it was time for me to put the baby down for a nap. After over a year of her napping either in my arms or on my back, I have to admit it is freeing to nurse her in bed, and leave her there for her 2 hour nap! Woo-hoo! And I still get to snuggle her all I want during the night. She naps best when nursed down in bed, so I’m trying my best to be home at that time (11-1).

After lunch the girls created a bakery store and asked me to buy something. I purchased some sweets for $4 and M gave me change for my $5 Curious George bill. She also gave me a receipt and a sticker (which I think she got the idea from all the iced coffee I have been buying from drive-thrus; the 3 coffee shops we visit give out either a sticker, dog bone cookie, or lollipop with a purchase).

After speech class and snack, we baked chocolate chunk banana bread (math!) together. C got to crack the egg this time (if you don’t yet let your 3-year-old crack an egg, do! Just use a separate bowl in case of any shell. C does a great job usually.).

Since Tuesday is our “Art” day, we also read a few pages from our book, A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet. We took our time looking at a piece, finding the hidden letter, and discussing the different aspects in a piece. It really is a cool book!

And now it’s free play until dinner (homemade pizza and roasted tomato soup). While I’ve been typing this, the girls collaborated on a big art piece (4 pages glued together with 4 pictures drawn on it) and are now looking at their library books. The baby has been with me, nursing off and on while “playing” in my office, aka “making a mess in the already messy office.”

And now the baby is pooping for the third time today! I need to get these caught in the potty, not the diaper! I better get offline!

An Artful Day

I have assigned “Music and Dramatic Arts” for our subject on Wednesdays, because most Wednesdays are busy with gymnastics and speech classes. I wanted an “easy” subject for me to do when I feel tired and that takes little planning.

The baby was a fussy sleeper last night. So when everyone woke up after 7, I sent the big girls to the living room to watch Curious George and Cat in the Hat; I just needed some quiet time to gather myself together. Then breakfast, playtime, and getting dressed for the day. Most of the playtime was drawing or writing; M wrote a list of words (without any vowels) but sounded them out correctly. She said she made the list of sounds for her to practice her speech with. C drew pictures of a spider and a dolphin; I so love seeing her drawing develop! (milestones never get old, do they!)

We usually have gymnastics Wednesday mornings, but this week we had off, so we decided to take advantage of the free day at our local art museum, the Utah Museum of Fine Art (UMFA). This was our first visit, as C is only 3.5 years and is a very kinesthetic learner: no running and no touching is hard for her! So it was a short visit (under 20 mins) but we survived without damaging the art!

The homeschooling highlight was that M recognized a Georgia O’Keeffe painting from our previous study of her!!! Proud Mama moment!

M’s favorite was the O’Keeffe painting, with a (real life!) princess painting coming in a close second. C’s favorite was an oversized porcelain statue of a man, called “Ethnic Man” as well as the Egyptian Coffin. I loved seeing the multiple paintings of the Virgin Madonna breastfeeding.

We even got to take a peek at the (pay-only) Speed Exhibit. Cool!

Afterwards, I rewarded ourselves with an iced mocha (for me) and cookies (for the big girls) from the museum’s cafe. We hung out outside to let the baby run around for a bit before heading back home.

When we got home, while the baby continued napping from the car ride, M and C played outside making mud pies. They came inside talking about a big furry black monster that wanted to eat them, and brought me outside to see him. So together we acted out the We’re Going On A Bear Hunt story (a favorite of ours) and went on a monster hunt. Then back inside for lunch and a reading of our chapter book and a picture book. We read The Moving House, which was a good way to begin more conversations about our upcoming move, and discussed things that we will miss about our house when we move (C was happy to learn that the piano will move with us). Then the girls ran back outside, this time to build a fairy forest, while I did some housework and internet browsing.

Off to speech we went, but not before playing some more of the hunting game. This time we hunted a Black Bear, that had chased us all the way into the car! We survived, luckily! We did discover that a pink bear had sneaked into the car but luckily Care Bears are friendly.

After speech class we did a family music class. We have done Music Together classes before, so I model that with the children. I also bring out the guitar to sing a few songs (our favorite song I can play on the guitar is I Had A Rooster). C had a major meltdown during music time, so we were delayed a bit by that. She felt better after eating a snack (which she had refused when we first got home, silly girl). M also did a brief piano lesson. She’s learning about quarter notes and half notes right now. She is more adept at playing the keys but was struggling with understanding half notes today. I’m hoping to get some books from the library about musical games to help her understand the theory side of things better.

Then we went our separate ways for more playtime. The girls have played ponies with their dolls and pony, I practiced some more guitar, and M is now making a Ballet Show sign because she wants to do a ballet show tomorrow night after dinner. (Actually, she wanted to do it tonight, but we’re going out for a work function, so we won’t have time.) Which reminds me, I don’t have to make dinner tonight!! But I do need to get everyone dressed up and looking presentable. And the baby has just pooped, so I best be done with this post!

In the Style of…Georgia O’Keeffe

Following the suggestions in Playful Learning (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1590308190), we studied the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. We learned that she was from Wisconsin and that she liked to paint nature big. We loved looking at her beautiful flower paintings in a book we had checked out from the library.

Then we got out our biggest painting paper (which wasn’t very big; I think this summer we will revisit this and paint outside on a bedsheet) and some flowers for inspiration, and painted big flowers. At C’s request, I penciled in a flower for her to paint.

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In the Style of…Vincent van Gogh

Following the lesson outlined here, we studied the painting style of Vincent van Gogh. We learned about impressionism and how van Gogh was famous for his broad, swirling brushstrokes. We looked at his paintings in a library book. The girls attempted to paint in his style, trying their best to make sweeping brush strokes. M actually used one of his paintings as the inspiration for her painting.

 

(left: C3yr, “A Rainbow Garden”; right: M5yr, “The Ocean”)

  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    “LipperLoppy” is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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