State of The Art: A Homeschool Studio

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

Vincent Van Gogh

The best part of art is getting a chance to make it yourself.  With this in mind, Happymess kids have invited their friends over for an all-day art festival.  They plan to take their studies in to their own hands, literally, and create the paintings they have been studying.

Happymess kids have been studying Impressionism, modern 20th century art and various forms of sculpture.  They are particularly interested in Pointillism.   This school year, Happymess kids have had great fun visiting several museums in NYC and Washington, DC.

The artists they most want to learn from are Seurat, Van Gogh and Monet.  They have chosen three specific works to study.

Seurat: La Grande Jatte

Van Gogh: Starry Starry Night

Monet: Water Lillies

It is now time to try their hand at the artistic process.

They want to create a composite painting that will encompass several different Impressionist techniques and will reflect the work of Monet, Van Gogh and Seurat.

 We have almost a dozen children filling our small art studio.  They are involved in several projects simultaneously:  painting, gluing, folding, drawing and drilling.  The biggest obstacle is trying not to step on wet paint and buckets of glue.

The younger group is creating a sculpture from found objects.  This is a major project, with this being only the first step but they are hard at work building, gluing and constructing separate pieces to be added later.

Meanwhile, Van Gogh is beginning to make an appearance in this Impressionist collage…

Quantum is learning origami.  He is hoping, with his friends, to fold 1000 cranes so they can make a wish for good luck.

It is time to begin adding Monet to the masterpiece…

Finally, the composite Impressionist painting is completed.  The final painting is 8’ by 8’ and has been painted, in one day, by a total 5 student painters.

The best way to know God is to love many things.  Vincent Van Gogh

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is spending the entire day in the art room, studying and painting in the tradition of the grand salons.

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!