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Great Art, Anyone?

April 1, 2008

We are big fans of art games here. Over the years, I’ve invested in two versions of Art Memo and in Where Art Thou?, which are variations on the game “Memory” or “Concentration.” I’ve also bought The Renaissance Art Game and An Impressionist Art Happy Families game; these are both variations of “Go Fish.” (And we wonder where all our money has been going over the years. *LOL* I have major educational spending issues.)

Introducing kids to Great Art through card games feels a bit like exposing them to classical music by installing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as a ring tone on your cell phone. Laughing Big ideas pushed into small boxes. The truth is, we tried a more Charlotte Mason oriented approach for a while, with planned artist studies and quality prints of great works, and this suits us better. When the kids look at the tiny reproductions of the paintings on the cards and choose the ones they like best, it plants seeds. The “planting seeds” theory was a huge part of my philosophy as a professional counselor and it drives most of my thinking as a home schooling mom. If something is heard in conversation, looked at, played with, or introduced in some other way, it ignites a spark of interest. I believe this makes the child’s mind more receptive to it when he encounters it somewhere else, either in formal studies or just through life.

In any case, somewhere along the line, my 13-year-old “caught the bug” and became fascinated with great art. This interest kind of ebbs and flows, but it’s never dried up.

Last week, Sarah decided we should make our own art memo game. She selected 50 pictures and recorded the titles and painters. I did most of the work on the actual cards.

While doing this, she did a lot of research on various kinds of paintings. I have learned a lot from her.

The kids particularly like surrealism:

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee by Salvador Dali

I have to admit I’ve never “gotten” Max Ernst:

L’Ange du Fyeur ou le Triomphe du Surrealisme by Max Ernst

And some of their other favorites:

The Veiled Lady by Raphael

Primavera by Botticelli

While looking up art online, Sarah became interested in “Outsider Art” — paintings by untrained artists, particularly people institutionalized for mental illness. One of the most famous is Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli (1864 – 1930) who had schizophrenia who spent most of his adult life in a psychiatric hospital. Though neither of us is particularly into abstract art, we were both taken with this painting–

General View of the Island by Adolf Wölfli

This is by Louis Wain (1860-1939), an English artist with schizophrenia. —

Wain Cat by Louis Wain

She also learned about Social Realism

Life is Everywhere
by Russian artist Nikolai Yaroshenko (1888)

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 20, 2010 4:14 pm

    I have tried to interest Owen in art but he is reluctant to say the least. In the last few weeks he has surprised us with his first ever
    bout of drawing and today he is attending his first pottery class.
    Here’s hoping!

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