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Winter Art 21/12/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, craft, home education, kids craft, trees.
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Well, I’ve had a break from posting on this blog…but it hasn’t really changed what we do, so thought I would share a few of the boys’ latest beauties with you all 🙂

Here are some tea light lanterns they decorated yesterday. I can’t find link to tutorial but basically you mod-podge the jars, add strips of tissue paper and torn sheet music (this is “Winter Wonderland”) plus bits of glitter in our case 🙂 They look beautiful with the little candles in:

IMG_6858

The boys have also made some lovely paintings of winter trees:

waif winter treeG winter tree 2010

(and yes, that is some more glitter!)

We have continued with the Sketch Tuesday and are all seeing real improvements in our sketching abilities. The boys have picked their favourites from recent assignments:

Gman likes his “something to cure a cold” sketch:

cold g

And Waif was especially proud of his “something you find in a toolbox”:

tools r

Oh, and we’ve been doing more Van Gogh inspired art. Van Gogh is both boys’ favourite artist at the moment.

Here’s Gman’s vase of flowers:

gman van gogh flowers

And Waif’s:

R van gogh flowers

This will probably be the last post of 2010…see you in 2011. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

Matisse Week 04/10/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, collage, home education, kids craft, printing.
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This last week, the boys have been learning about the artist Henri Matisse. We started by reading “Drawing with Scissors” and also watched an excellent BBC documentary “Modern Masters Matisse“. And of course, we got stuck in by doing our own art in the style of Matisse.

The boys made Matisse inspired collages:

matisse collage - george
matisse collage - rafe

(although Gman had trouble grasping the big, bold shapes concept at first!!)

made collaged name panels (an idea from Deep Space Sparkle)

gman matisse name panel
rafe matisse name panel

had a go at printing shapes over a collaged background (this idea from the “What’s the Big Idea?” book mentioned in this post.

playful prints in progress
matisse prints

And favourite of all, this wonderful Matisse-inspired dancer collage, another project idea from the excellent Deep Space Sparkle site:

matisse dancer finished

Sketch Tuesday 21/09/2010

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Having agreed with the boys’ request to do some art every day, I was very excited to find out about “Sketch Tuesday“. I originally found out about this from this post on Nadene’s excellent homeschool blog, Practical Pages, and thought it sounded just the job. Our first assignment was to sketch “something with whiskers”. Gman chose to draw a tiger, and Waif quickly followed suit. Here they are at work on their pics:

g with whiskers
r does whiskers

And here are their completed drawings:

something with whiskers - r
something with whiskers - g

I even had a go and drew this slightly odd looking rabbit:

something with whiskers - v

If you hop (teehee) on over to Harmony Mom’s post here you can see the album of people’s sketches on this theme. The front cover is Gman’s tiger and very proud he is too 🙂

This week’s assignment is “something that floats”. Watch this space!

Favourite Art Books 14/09/2010

Posted by snoozerider in book reviews, home education, kids craft.
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In the Snooze Academy, art always wins the homeschool day! The boys find it relaxing and rewarding and we all learn a lot along the journey. We get a lot of ideas for art projects from websites and blogs (and always link to these when we do) but also use books and these are a few of our current favourites:

fave art books

Discovering Great Artists

This is an excellent book for finding out all about some of the greatest masters in the art world with one or two projects for each artist. They are graded by ability, by time taken and use a variety of techniques and materials, so great for ideas for using all the different art materials we seem to be constantly accumulating! It is a little short on illustrations of what the “finished product” might look like, but in some ways that is a good thing.

What’s the Big Idea?  Activities and Adventures in Abstract Art (Art Explorers series)

We used the Impressionist version of this book extensively when Gman was doing his impressionist lapbook earlier in the year. We also have editions on Expressionist Art, Pop Art and Surrealism. They are all fabulous, fabulous books! Each artist is introduced by a section showing a piece of their work followed by questions about the piece which really get the children properly looking at and thinking about the picture. Then there are a couple of different projects for each artist with very clear instructions and pictures of the completed work by children of various ages. We recently did some “Picasso faces” using this book as a springboard:

rafes picasso facewaif working on picasso facegmans picasso facegman does picasso face

I cannot recommend this series of books highly enough. They really are excellent.

Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists

Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists is our new favourite art inspiration book. This book isn’t aimed at children but there are a lot of ideas in it that could be used by kids.  There are 52 different “labs”, each giving a starting point for drawing.  They are light hearted, fun and whimsical, just what we like :-).  To get an idea of the sort of thing included in the book, check out the author’s blog, especially the assignments and tutorials down the left hand side.

Art, Rust and Picture Perfect Boyhoods 17/07/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, craft, home education, painting.
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It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but not because we haven’t been busy…

We’ve done some more abstract art, using watercolours and marker pens:

This was with the help of the great book “Painting Abstracts:  Ideas, Projects and Techniques“.  It’s not a children’s book by any means but a lot of the projects are accessible or adaptable for kids and the great thing is they aren’t too prescriptive so allow the kids to go off at their own tangent.

We’ve done some more experiments relating to Gman’s rock project.  The most recent of these goes against all my instincts and turns something that is perfectly edible (grapefruit) into something most inedible (a fake geode)!!  This project was taken from a fab little book we have out of the library and involves layering Plaster of Paris mix into the emptied grapefruit shell, then sprinkling in alum crystals and topping up each day with some alum mixture.  We put a little red and blue food colouring in the mix to make it purple and sparkly!  And yes, it is a messy process 🙂

Waif particularly enjoyed doing some rust dyeing this week.  Again we took this project from a book aimed at adults: Fabric Art Workshop but which has a few projects that would be good to do with kids, as long as you take care and use rubber gloves etc.  To make this fabric, first of all we laid our unbleached cotton in a metal tray, then dampened it with a mixture of vinegar and water.  Next we ferreted around in the shed for some metal artefacts, some already rusty, some not eg washers, steel wool, weights, nails etc and arranged these on top of the fabric before spraying again with the vinegar and water mixture.  We placed the tray inside a black bin bag, tied it closed, weighed it down and left for 24+ hours.

This is what it looked like when we took it out of the bag:

Waif donned some rubber gloves and carefully removed the rusty things (we put them aside in an old ice cream tub for “next time”) then we soaked the cloth in a mixture of salt and hot water to set the dye.  The cloth is beautiful, partly because you can see in it what you like eg a treasure map, a wolf, the moon, monsters, an explosion in space…what can you see?

As well as the art and rocks, we have also been enjoying some old fashioned stories together.  Following a recommendation on Julie’s Homeschooling-ideas blog, we got hold of the book “A Picture Perfect Childhood“.  I found this a really inspiring book, convincing me that reading picture books to the boys (including 10 year old Gman) would be beneficial for all of us.  We’ve been slotting in a story after lunch each day, starting with the beautiful picture book, “The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales” and both the boys and myself have been really enjoying it.  It’s a lovely, quiet, cuddly time together and the stories themselves are raising plenty of issues to talk about.  Hopefully it will help balance out some of the over-boisterous boyish behavior that has been landing them in trouble this week, and help them get in touch with a gentler side…

A Car Boot Sale Education 16/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in craft, home education, kids craft.
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Who says home education needs to be expensive?

At this morning’s boot sale we picked up a vintage weaving loom, two primary science books, three books interviewing children’s authors (Telling Tales series) a set of Oxford Learning Tree readers, a workbook on telling the time, a book of scary stories and Star Wars Monopoly.  OK, not sure of the educational value of the Monopoly but all the same 🙂

So what have we been up to the last couple of weeks..?

More on the Aztecs as part of Gman’s Mexico lapbook project.  The boys are quite taken with the somewhat gory nature of this particular period of ancient history.  I think it’s the live human sacrifices that do it!  Gman patiently stuck down loads of little gummed squares to make this two headed-serpent (Waif started out helping but got fed up with the bits sticking to him so wandered off to do something else):

As you can see, Gman was rather pleased with the finished result!

Waif has been continuing making some more “quilt” patterns and has even had a go at a liberated house (see my sewing blog for what this means!)

We have also been to see a small but very lovely textile art exhibition at the Babylon Gallery in Ely.  While Gman was totally entranced by a piece entitled “The Power of Money” which comprised a kind of waterfall of £10 & £20 notes embroidered in between sheets of sheer material, Waif was more interested in having a go at the hands-on textile art activity, with a little help from Nana.  They had a table laid out with fabric, ribbons, buttons, beads, and various yummy trims for participants to make fabric flower corsages to go on a “tree” inside the gallery.  Waif hung his first flower up there, but was so taken with his second that he went home with it sewn to his jumper!

Continuing on an artistic theme, Gman has been designing a poster for his latest story, borrowing somewhat from all the sci-fi we have been watching and reading lately!

Painting and Sewing and Stuff 25/03/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education, kids craft, painting.
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We have been continuing with our Impressionism’ theme and Gman has nearly finished putting his first lapbook together on the subject (pictures will follow!).  In the meantime we have visited the excellent Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to check out their Impressionist collection (and were also wowed by the Ancient Egyptian stuff there) and painted some more in the style of famous painters.

Firstly, the boys did these paintings, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”:

Gman's painting inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Gman's painting inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Waif's interpretation of Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Then, we had a go at using some unexpected colours for everyday landscapes, in the style of Paul Gauguin.  Waif chose to paint orange grass, purple trees, a green and blue sun and a red sky.  He loved choosing different wacky colours for his:

Waif's wacky colours

Gman was a bit more hesitant about the whole colour thing and initially referred to a colour wheel so he could select the “right” wrong colour (!) but he soon got into it.  He chose to paint from a sketch he had made on the train to Cambridge of things he could see out of the window.  He has blue and yellow grass, orange gravestones, purple barns and a green sky with blue clouds, with a purple window frame round the outside:

Gman's crazy colours

Gman has also been turning his hand to sewing some napkins this week.  He has made two reversible napkins using the sewing machine and is very proud of them.  He has even put pictures on his own blog:  here and here.

Gman shows off his new napkin

New Best Place Ever and More Impressionist Art 12/03/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education, kids craft, nature, painting.
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We have had a busy few weeks of living and learning (can you have one without the other?).  On a lovely sunny morning last week we went exploring at a local nature reserve we had never been to before – Dersingham Bog Nature Reserve.  Here you can see the old Wolverton Cliff (now 2km from the sea but 6,000 years ago at the sea’s edge) and explore the bog using the boardwalk.  There was, of course, plenty of mud 🙂  Gman officially declared this the “Best Place Ever” so I am sure we will be returning for more adventures soon.

We have also been continuing on our Impressionist theme.  Gman is putting a lapbook together on the Impressionist artists, while Waif is happy just to join in with the painting.

The boys have:

Painted trees in the style of Monet:

Waif's tree painting

Gman's tree painting

Created cityscapes in the style of Pissarro.  Firstly using sponge painting, secondly using oil pastels and water colours:

Gman concentrates on cityscape

Waif adds to cityscape

Finished sponge printed cityscape

Gman works on his wax resist cityscape

Waif creating cityscape with oil pastels

Gman's finished watercolour resist cityscape

Waif's watercolour city

Tried out pointillism in the style of Seurat:

Waif tries out pointillist technique

Gman gets pointy

Waif's pointillist island

Gman's pointillist beach scene

When they haven’t been painting, the boys have been enjoying various computer based activities.  Gman has been playing BoulderDash, a game resurrected from Daddy’s game playing youth.  Waif has been feverishly working his way through the Alphablocks game on the CBeebies site, and then translating this into words to make from his wooden alphabet bricks.  I was a bit surprised when he asked for help making the words “x-ray”, “exit” and “hospital” and was relieved that the following day, the most important words of the day had become “brown”, “flake” and “aero” 😉

Muddy Impressions 28/02/2010

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This week we have mostly been playing in the muddy woods and painting in an Impressionist style.

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