The girls and I made an art museum today.
It wasn't as hard work as it sounds!
First, we made a lot of frames from colored construction paper and stuck white paper behind them. We used thick white sketchbook-type paper for this but white construction paper is great, too. I let the girls use my fancy scissors, and they made arty borders.
We made a few frames with black canvases, for crayons and pastels.
Then we set out some art materials - crayon rocks, water-soluble crayons and watercolor pencils and cut bits of paper for collages.
And the girls made their art pieces while I fancied up some of the frames with markers.
Kate was deliriously happy to be allowed to cut up paper with all the pairs of scissors.
And then we had a brief lunch intermission. Look - food and art supplies on the same table. Sometimes we relax the rules!
I'll share an interesting twist to this activity - none of the girls actually knew what an art museum was like! Emily went to one as a baby but she didn't remember, of course. And the girls have seen museums on TV, but that was it.
So we talked about it. We talked about what museums were, and the kinds there were. We talked about curators, and brochures, and how large and small the exhibits were. We talked about dinosaurs and mobiles and spaceships and interactive machines, and weapons of war and history and produce and sculpture gardens and vintage Barbies and old instruments. And art.
Then I remembered this series of magazines I bought years ago in Singapore:
This was during my I Am An Uncultured Buffoon And Need To Embrace The Fine Arts phase that sometimes strikes post-college young people. I diligently collected as many of these magazines as I could, and then never read beyond the first or second issue. I saved them though, because they were like a Fine Art For Dummies subscription, see -
and I suspected they would come in handy someday.
Good old culture! I am no more informed today than I was back then, but it was fun to just look at the pictures with the kids, and marvel at the different styles. Emily loved Seurat's pointillism - "it's just dots!"
Then we pulled up some photos of Emily's infant-trip to the museum and tried to spot some of the paintings in the magazines.
This is a sample of some of the pieces the girls did:
Emily's collage- "Sunset":
"Rainbow" by Emily (blue frame) and by Jenna (purple frame):
Still life: disparate fruit sans bowl by Jenna
"Trying To Be A Rainbow" by Kate
We've done art like this many times before, but never within frames. The frames made everything fancy and important and the girls even signed their names in the corners like they'd seen in real paintings.
Emily suggested more ideas for our museum - sculpture like this one, set on pillows on pedestals
and easels with artists at work. She initially thought that museums were full of the actual artists painting their masterpieces for visitors to watch, after which they would sell them. So we talked about most of the artists being dead, and student painters sometimes copying their work in the musuems as part of their homework.
Then we took photos of the girls' work, and made a museum brochure*:
The girls talked about their paintings and we included some of their comments.
And finally, we stuck the paintings on the walls. When Dad came home, we invited him to our museum, presented him the brochure and gave him the grand tour. No photos of the actual museum because the lighting was so poor anyway. And also because the final product was just pictures on a wall and a lone cardboard structure in the middle of the room - very much like any craft scenario in our house on any day of the week. But the process was what most engaged the kids today - from making their own frames to fleshing out the concept of museum to preparing their work for presentation to "the public" (i.e. Dad). It's a pity not all our crafts work out this way - I sure wish they did.