Exploring Pop Art

“They always say that time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself.”  Andy Warhol

We have had a fascinating week exploring Pop Art and experimenting with different painting techniques.

Bounce and Scooter were entranced with Warhol’s colorful rendering of common objects.

Bounce abstract with hands

They loved the repetition and cartoon-like simplicity of Warhol’s silkscreen paintings.

We also read some simple biographies of Warhol’s life.  Bounce and Scooter sympathized with his childhood illness.  Quantum was more impressed with Warhol’s “partying” lifestyle and popularity as an adult cult figure.

We concentrated on learning to mix colors and mix media.

Bounce’s favorite style was the Jackson Pollock splatter paints.  He had a great time splattering paint and adding random leaves and twigs to enhance the texture of his paintings.

Jackson Pollock

Bounce abstract

Jackson Pollock Number 18

Bounce Abstract Number 2

We had fun comparing Pollock’s work with Bounce’s paintings.  We discussed that although it might be easy to imitate the works of famous pop artists, these ideas were once considered original.

Roy Lichtenstein Drowning Girl

Warhol, Pollock, Lichtenstein and others were among the first to create “art” with modern commercial techniques and images.

Athena: Girl and Mother

Athena loved creating pop art images of her family and friends.  She loves the irreverence of these images and the way an ordinary photograph can tell a story that is different from the original.

And isn’t that what art is really about?

All artists, in every media, strive to take a moment of reality and transform it into a story that highlights a unique world vision.  Art is an attempt to redraw the everyday so that important details are highlighted and specific ideas are communicated.

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is teaching our children to tell their own stories through art, creative writing and drama.

Washington Whirlwind

This weekend was a perfect whirling dervish of art, history, science and Happymess thrills and chills.  We had our highs and lows, and now as the new week begins, we can’t quite believe it happened in just 48 hours.

Hirshhorn Waterfall, Washington DC (Allia)

Happymess kids begin their Washington, DC adventures.

 Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. 

This is the first time that all 102 of Andy Warhol’s Shadow paintings are being presented together.  They make an impressive array along the curve of the gallery, with various shapes and colors playing off one another.

Andy Warhol Shadows Exhibit

Initially, Happymess kids were slightly surprised by the modern art offerings.

“Where are the emperor’s new clothes?”

Athena, formerly Creatress, “It’s really great seeing all these paintings together.  If you just saw one or two you would assume he (Warhol) really didn’t put anything into it, but when you see so many (of the same image in different colors) you realize that he really did work hard after all.”

Allia thinks, Hmm.  If one image doesn’t impress, why then are 102 more effective? Or, mathematically speaking, what is 102 times zero?

Bounce, “The great thing about art is you really can’t do anything wrong.  You just make it (art) whatever way you want.”

Allia, “Yes, that is exactly right.  Art is whatever you want it to be.”

Scooter, shouting indignantly from his stroller, “These paintings aren’t art.  They’re just scribbles!”

Out of the mouths of babes….

In fact, we had a great time at the Hirshhorn galleries and enjoyed many of the extremely colorful and playful ways the artists expressed themselves.  We took numerous photographs and had many novel ideas for art projects of our own, including set design ideas for some upcoming Happymess theater competitions.

Modern art offers terrific freedom of thought and expression.  The older Happymess kids felt empowered by the boldness of thought.  The younger Happymess kids were relieved to see that perfection is not a requirement for artistic creation.

National Museum of African Art

Our next stop was the Museum of African Art.  Here we were truly inspired by the variety and depth of expression throughout the exhibits.  Athena is currently writing a script that takes place in Africa.  She perused every detail looking for set and costume design ideas and studied videos of African dances.

Bounce and Scooter were thrilled with the hands-on activities.  Scooter is coloring African masks and headdresses.  Later this winter we will be creating these same masks and headdresses out of paper-mache.

Bounce was intrigued by an illuminated kaleidoscope.  He is working on a science project involving solar energy and lighting with his Destination Imagination team.

The Museum of Air and Space

These exhibits really focus on man’s determination to conquer air and space travel.

Again, Bounce and Scooter preferred creating their own aerodynamic space ships and airplanes.

Athena was busy studying the Wright brothers and their first attempts at flight.

She will use this information for her National History Day competition entry.

Misadventures

It was a long and exhausting day, as you can imagine.  We were delighted to finally return to our hotel so that we could relax and plan our evening activities.  Being a Happymess family, we should have known better.

Just as we were getting ready for dinner, Scooter became very ill and we had to rush him to the hospital.  I will not bore you with the long evening I spent in the emergency room.

By the next day he was feeling much better and we had the opportunity to play Chutes and Ladders together (for hours).

Ancient Indian game of Snakes and Ladders

This game is based on the ancient Indian game of Snakes and Ladders.  The intention was to teach morals and manners while entertaining tiny tots.

The beauty of this simple game is that it encourages young children to play fairly.  The desire to cheat seems to be irresistible.  Scooter tried every which way to put himself on a ladder while sending me down the chute.  We may need to introduce this game into our regular Happymess curriculum.

Johns Hopkins Study of Exceptional Talent

Meanwhile, while Scooter and I were whiling away our time at Georgetown University Hospital, the Happymess crew had move on to new adventures.

Athena received an award at the Grand Ceremony of SET at Johns Hopkins University for her outstanding SAT scores, taken at age 14.  She received First in Country and First Internationally (tied with many other children from around the world).  We are very proud of her accomplishments.

Boy Scout Wilderness Survival

During this very same weekend, Quantum and Truth were learning camping and orienteering skills in the hills of Massachusetts.

Washington Whirlwind (Allia)

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is experiencing art, history, science, camping, an international award and the local hospital in one 48-hour period!