Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Name is Auntie and I Like to Do Drawrings

Another big gap between posts... I apologize for the absence.  Lots of fun things happening lately, though!  In November I started giving "Art Appreciation" lessons to my sister's oldest son, Reney.  These lessons consist of studying an artist, learning about aspects of art, and then trying to apply what we have learned.  This sounds like an excellent plan, but the major challenge becomes apparent when we mention that Reney is six.  He will be turning seven this year, but he is still six.  He is in that particular phase where he thinks "poop" is hysterical, learning to write correctly is a waste of time, and his Mom and his Auntie don't know anything.  It is my understanding that this phase may last well into adult-hood, but we are doing our best to cope in the meantime.

The first artist we picked to study is Vincent Van Gogh... that master of Post-Impressionism.  Van Gogh has some personal interest for us since we visited some of the places that were important in Van Gogh's life when we were in France.  We have pictures of the cafe he painted, spent a few days in Paris, and we spent some time in Arles, where Van Gogh spent some time trying to start an artist commune.  Reney probably doesn't remember this (he was 20 months at the time!), but we have some pictures of him there, so that made it a little more interesting for him.

Some of the aspects of art that we talked about were contrast, perception, and texture.  We looked at dark vs light, how perception shows distance (near vs far), and how texture can be used to create both contrast and perception. 

Van Gogh did quite a few self-portraits, so that was our first attempt at art.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the self-portraits, but I was pleasantly surprised with Reney's attention to detail and image of himself.  And my sister tells me that his subsequent self-portraits show an evolving image of himself and more seriousness in the artwork.

The next step was to look at some of Van Gogh's art and then create our own interpretations.  One of the pieces that we studied was the famous "Starry Night" painting (shown below).

We created our own individual interpretations of this painting, using the medium of chalk on black construction paper.

Reney's Midnight Christmas Tree

Reney used the side of the blue chalk to create contrast and the appearance of texture in his drawing, in order to emphasize the dark night.  The blue is the sky that is near, and the black behind is the sky that is far away.  The light colors used in the stars and the moon are meant to create the contrast of bright vs dark and make the stars and moon appear to glow.

My Interpretation

 As you can see, my interpretation has quite a bit less imagination than Reney's.  My favorite part is the lit windows in the small town.

The following week, we used Van Gogh's Sunflowers as our inspiration.
The Van Gogh version...
My version

Brigitta's version

Reney's version
I painted this lovely scene on construction paper for Brigitta

Reney created himself as a flower
I think our next artist will continue the Post-Impressionism studies... Paul Cezanne?