28 May 2013

This is WAR!

After the various and sundry rabbits and ground squirrels did this:


to my parsley and this:


to my calendula and this:


and this:


to my strawberries and this:


to my kale, I did this:


to my garden.  Sadly, I am almost positive that I heard little bunny and ground squirrel snickers behind my back the whole time I was putting it up.

22 May 2013

Bean Dali (January 2013)

Watch out Salvador Dali, there's a new surrealist in town!  Surrealism appeals to an eight-year-old and, I have to say, I totally get it.  Like many other months, we start with a famous painting:  Persistence of Memory


You might need to embiggen it to see the melty clocks.  Or if you choose not to, we have a bonus melty clock:


The hands even move, so you can set it to whatever melty time you choose.  Next is a painting based on an less famous, but nonetheless well-known Dali motif, The Elephants:


Those are some serious long legs on those pachyderms.  Since Dali was know for his crazy mustaches, this month's self portrait took some liberties with gender:


It may not be clear from my photograph, but the mustaches were made of pipe cleaners and make this one three-dimensional.  And finally, a not-so-still-life.  I don't think this was inspired by a particular work, just a great example of surrealism and the unexpected.


Since Bean's grandma and grandpa visited The Dali Museum back when her uncle lived in Florida, they will definitely need to find their old pictures and compare notes with Bean at some point!

21 May 2013

Bean Picasso (December 2012)

Since Bean had her last art class of the year yesterday, it's definitely past time to be finishing up the fall artists.  December was Picasso and, because of the holidays, one of the shorter months.  One of the projects was a cubist self-portrait:


This is certainly a memorable project, for all the wrong reasons...Miss Bean has a pair of pink pants that are liberally decorated with this exact shade of green paint and, because the paint wasn't dry when we picked her up, I also have some of this green on my favorite sweatshirt.  Oh well, the price we pay for great art!  

The next one is inspired by the Three Musicians.  Bean ended up with Five Musicians:


I think this is in the running for favorites from the class.  I just love pretty much everything about it: the great colors, the curly armed maraca player (with a bit of Carmen Miranda going on in the hat), the saxophonist that looks like he belongs in a smoky jazz club, the bassist that can hardly reach his bass.  Love it!

11 May 2013

Oh yeah, there are boys in the house, too...

Now that I have finally gotten back to blogging, I have been so absorbed in getting Miss Bean's art class posted and up to date, that I haven't said anything about those two boys that live with us!  We have all been keeping busy with classes and interests.

I posted earlier about fencing.  Miss Bean quit fencing at the end of March, but Bug has been going strong.  He loves it and is raring to go every Tuesday and Thursday.  I had wondered if twice a week would get to be too much, but I think he would be tickled if he could go seven days a week.  Most practices are doing drills and practice bouts that give everyone a chance to both fence and referee for each other.  For a while he was thrilled just to get a touch in a bout now and then, but in the last couple of weeks he has won several one-touch bouts.  It is great fun for me seeing him gaining skills and confidence and getting some nice compliments from the coach.

He is also very active playing Minecraft.  We finally got the version for the computer in February and all three kids are having a blast with it.  I enjoy seeing him learning about computers, solving problems, and collaborating with his siblings while building worlds.  As he starts working with friends, I imagine he may be designing maps and mods and all kinds of stuff.

Another interest of his that, while not up on his radar constantly, has been sneaking in here and there is Mythology.  A while ago we read Edith Hamilton's Mythology as a bedtime read.  It was a little bit dense for him to be reading right now (I used it as a textbook for two classes: one in high school and one in college), but reading it aloud in small doses, he enjoyed it a lot and we read with the iPad close at hand so we could look things up if we needed.  Recently, we started reading the Iliad.  It started out like some of our other bedtime reading with me reading aloud, but in the last couple of weeks, he decided that he wanted to read some of it aloud, too.  So, we take turns, alternating pages, each night.  We're about halfway through and are planning on tackling the Odyssey next.

Beeb is still small enough that most of his "work" looks like playing, but he has been trying out things too.  He started tumbling and trampoline class after the first of year and seems to be having a good time.  Miss Bean has joined him since she decided to stop fencing.  He continues to love turtles and bugs and playing on the computer or video games with his older siblings.

One thing that he has been consistently interested in recently is playing the accordion.  I'm not entirely sure where he came up with the idea (not that it matters), but he announced one day that he wants to do it.  Since then, he reminds me periodically that he still wants to play the accordion.  In April, our public library had a nice little accordion recital that he and I attended.  He was completely enchanted by the music from the start, but started getting ants in his pants when the performer was talking between numbers.  While he was pretty fidgety during the second half-hour (the whole recital was about an hour), he still managed to mind his manners until the end.  We got to look at the accordion close-up at the end and he is still gung-ho to play.  We'll have to look into a student-sized instrument though as we learned that the accordion that was being played at the recital weighs about five pounds more than Beeb does.  Meanwhile, I got the iPod he uses set up with Pandora stations for zydeco and polka, both of which have accordion, so he can listen when he wants to.

Other than her art class, Bean started taking piano last fall.  She is a bit lukewarm about lessons as playing piano doesn't come as naturally to her as drawing and painting does.  She has also been taking tumbling with Beeb this session.  While she mostly enjoyed fencing while she was doing it, she was at a disadvantage to Bug as she just isn't as physically mature and coordinated since she is two years younger.  She was a hard worker and doing her best, but it just wasn't coming along as naturally or as easily as it was for Bug and was starting to get frustrating for her.  She can try again in a couple of years if she feels like it or maybe she'll decide that it just isn't her cup of tea.

Bean Monet (November 2012)

Of the artists studied in the fall, I think Monet might be Bean's favorite.  In addition to painting a picture of lily pads:


and the famous bridge in Monet's garden in Giverny:


we read several stories about both Monet's garden and his life in France.  As a result, she is already making plans to go to France to see his garden, Matisse's chapel, the Mona Lisa, and all the other famous art, too.  Poor dear is going to discover the rude awakening of champagne taste on a beer budget before long.  Meanwhile, we will file it away under "Maybe Someday."


10 May 2013

Diva Challenge #117

Weekly Challenge #117: "New Official Tangle: Schway"

Schway was a lot of fun, though I bit off more than I can chew with this tangle.  First, go look at the Diva's site and see how all the little arrows happen.  It's pretty cool.  The original plan was to fill in more arrows, but this week has been ridiculously spring-like and lovely out.  After the cool/cold and wet going on so long, we just couldn't be inside much this week.  A hike in the Arboretum with the boys during Bean's art class, a LONG park day on Tuesday, a run over to a close park after piano lessons.  Yesterday and today are gray and rainy and I spent most of yesterday coping with the fact that playing outside means chores get neglected inside.

I will probably continue to fiddle and fill arrows over time, but, even so, it's kind of fun with just a few filled in.

09 May 2013

Bean Warhol (October 2012)

Here I was being such a good girl documenting Miss Bean's art class when--ooo, shiny.  Or maybe it was a squirrel.  Anyhoo...back to art.  October was Pop Artist Andy Warhol.
Quick, what's the first thing you think of when I say Andy Warhol?


Of course: Campbell's Soup Cans!  Tomato Soup to be exact.


Another project combined something that Warhol used as subject matter with a favorite Warhol technique:



In this case, the prints weren't screen prints, but instead, they used a stylus to draw their picture in a foam meat tray which they then used as a stamp with bright colors, finishing up with painting over the drawing lines in different bright colors.  So, they still captured the "mass produced" reproduction idea that Warhol used, even without the fuss of setting up screen prints.

Considering that October had five Mondays, I have a strong suspicion that at least one project didn't find its way to Bean's art portfolio.  I know that the bananas took more than a single session, but I'm not sure that these two works took up five sessions.  'Tis a mystery.






30 April 2013

Bean Van Gogh (September 2012)

Miss Bean's classes started in September with Vincent Van Gogh.  I knew the art she made in this class was going to knock my socks off from the first thing they brought home, Starry Night:


Yes, I admit, I may be biased, but this was the best one in the class.  Miss Bean wasn't even the oldest in the class at that time (it was much bigger in September than it is now).

Next up is Sunflowers:  



Since Van Gogh painted lots and lots of sunflowers, this isn't a copy of any particular picture.  Instead, the teacher brought in a vase of sunflowers that she put in the middle of the table and they all painted it.  It was fun seeing all the different paintings, each from a different perspective depending on where around the table each kid was!

And a still life (with a bonus sunflower, of course):


I think this may have been a warm up before the Sunflowers still life.  Also, this one might need to be rotated 90° counterclockwise.  Bean couldn't remember for sure, but this was her best guess.

And finally, a self-portrait:


Neither Bean nor I are 100% sure this one belongs in the Van Gogh stack, but she vaguely remembered that they talked about colors being connected to mood. With my limited art history background, that brought Van Gogh's self portraits to mind and seemed to fit better than the other possibilities.  Note to self:  I really need to stay on top of these things and make notes right away, don't I?

Diva's Weekly Challenge #116


This week's challenge is called "Blind Sighted" and challenges us to use a blind string...just what it sounds like.  Put the pencil on a border, close eyes, and draw a string.  Once of the advantages of using my little sketchbook instead of a regular tile is that it was pretty obvious when I just about to run into the spiral binding or when I went lurching over the edge of the cliff page.  I tried to experiment with a little more white space than I usually have, but I felt like it still needed something:


So I tried tangling the stems of the Zingers:


I think it was my inability to draw parallel lines for the stems that was bugging me, but I kind of like the tangled stems, so we'll go with that.  Since I tend to get bogged down looking at a blank frame, the blind string made that part a little easier, so a fun challenge!  Thanks, Diva!

24 April 2013

Artist Girl

Bean has been the resident artist for a long time now (this picture still cracks me up).  This year, she has been taking a homeschool art class at the Monroe Street Arts Center up in Madison.  In the class, they focus on one artist each month.  They learn a little art history, see some famous examples of their art, and do art projects either copying famous pictures or doing their own take in the style of the artist.  It will come as a surprise to no one who has me the girl that she ADORES the class!  Her only complaint was that some of her classmates were more interested in talking to each other than making art and were disturbing her.  My vivid imagination is imagining the top picture from the link above.  Since the first of the year, the class size has gotten smaller and she is better able to concentrate, and even when the class was bigger, I don't think the noise was a make-or-break deal.

Anyway, today the sun was out for a change (no clouds, rain, or snow for a change), so I finally got all of her class art projects hauled out into the sun to take pictures.  Over the next week or two, I'm planning on posting her pictures by month, so watch this space.

The other fun part about the class is the other things it has led to outside the class.  She and I have been hauling artist biographies and stories and picture out from the library.  We read three out of four volumes of a nice kid-level art history series (the fourth volume isn't in our library system, or more precisely, is but the only copy is lost) and watched an older PBS art history series (Art of the Western World).  Currently, we have segued off the beaten path to read about illustrators.  Along with the monstrous pile of books we have been hauling home from the library each week, one was Talking With Artists, which, for each of fourteen artists, gives a short biography and then has each artist's answers to eight questions that are commonly asked when folks like these talk to students or do a reading.  In addition to reading from the book we have also put holds on several books by each illustrator, so we read and look at pictures after we read about one of the illustrators.  We are currently a couple of illustrators in to the second volume and I just discovered a third volume.  I guess we'd better get reading!

The sad thing?  First, we have already read down the pile by at least a dozen books since the beginning of the week.  Second, this stack doesn't even finish off the second book. It's a good thing the librarians like us, or they would be hating us with all the holds we have been picking up!  We'll whittle down this pile a bit before putting holds on books by the last few illustrators in Volume Two.

Anyhoo, more pictures, less blabbing in the next several posts as I get Miss Bean's masterpieces posted.