Art Week! Friday: The Exhibit

FRIDAY MORNING I had originally left open, thinking we might need that time to finish our comic book or other projects. But we didn't have anything unfinished so we decided to do a still life instead. I cut flowers from our butterfly bush and grabbed some apples and we got started!

I didn't do any preparation for this lesson, so I'm sure this could have gone better. But these are some of the points we hit:

  • sketch out the main shapes of what you see first, you can add more details when you begin to paint
  • each person is looking from a different place, and so we each see slightly different things
  • the background color doesn't have to be the same as the wall behind it - choose a color that complements your composition
  • apples aren't just red - what other colors do you see in the apples?

The really fun part of this project was that all three of us were looking at the same thing, and painted the same thing, yet each painting turned out very unique. They thought that was pretty cool. In a way we were putting into action the diversity of styles they had been seeing in the art books all week.

They were given free painting time for the rest of the morning and were extra motivated because they knew this was their last chance to make something for the art exhibit.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON I encouraged the girls to pick out their very best paintings for the gallery wall, and then we also had two large "collections" that we hung along the stairs. I wanted them to understand that it was okay that some paintings are better than others - some don't make the cut, but that doesn't mean they aren't valuable. Also, I wanted to talk about how some art work is made together as a group, when an artist explores a certain topic, subject or style. This ended up being way too easy since my four year old had drawn about a hundred variations of houses with a tree and person, and my six year old made her own series of dots (like in the story The Dot).

After they made their selections, I cleaned up our school room and got ready for the art exhibit. They looked forward to the exhibit all week, so I wanted to make it feel extra special and sort of surprise them with it. I always think the best way to make an event feel special is to transform the space. Our school room has lots of clutter (and not many empty walls), so I had to get creative with this. I finally decided to hang a sheet in front of the school shelf and use it as our gallery wall. This gave us a large empty wall space, and also hid the messy school clutter. Combine that with an actually clean room and a table cloth with hor d'oeurves and flowers, and our loft felt like a fancy gallery. I made tickets as an extra little surprise for our grand opening.

still life model to decor

L's work is on the right, and J's on the left

The two collections lined the stairs, leading up to the main exhibit in the loft.
Tickets were collected at the bottom of the stairs. 
I also encouraged the girls to dress up. L and I dressed in all black after an artist cliche she had seen in some books. J did not like that idea at all, so she wore her fluffy pink dress instead.

The main event happened after Daddy was home from work. He was the best audience ever, asking lots of questions, and listening to them tell him about their favorite paintings. L was very eager to talk about her work. She worked diligently all week, and was eager to learn how to do each new task. I was very proud of her, and I think the art exhibit made her feel quite important.

I'm not sure this cured our homeschool burn out, and we're way behind in history and math now. But we had the best week ever. We had a crazy week of stress-free messy learning, and I think my 6 year old found that even hard work can be fun. I think this is maybe the best of what school can be: exploring what our children are really drawn to, and teaching them to love learning. Hopefully, we can bring more of this kind of learning into each week!

Keep up with the rest of Art Week here:
Get Ready
Monday: Experimenting with Materials and Textures
Tuesday: Landscapes and Space
Wednesday: People and Portraits
Thursday: Storytelling and Comic Books
Friday: The Exhibit

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