Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Art’

Our God, the Artist

Yesterday was a Konos-n-Art day. Because I have SO much to do, and because I have been blessed with standard 24-hour days rather than the requisite 48 that would make it possible to achieve all I have to do, I have split the school day over two days. This means that on one day we do Maths & English, and on the next day we do Art & Konos, which includes Science, History, Geography and Biology. We do Bible every day, of course.

It may seem as though this is not enough school, and I certainly believed that would be the case. But the results of Goldilocks’ recent exams speak for themselves. 91.5% for English. 63% for Grade 4 Maths, and we’re only doing Grade 2 Maths in school! And 69% for the the rest in a combined exam. In this case, the exam covered work we haven’t done yet, and didn’t cover some things that we have done. So I think we’re okay.

But back to my story: yesterday was an Art day and a Konos day. Because we have just started studying birds in Konos, and because we are discovering the shapes in objects in Art, I thought it would be a good idea to draw a bird for Art. And because we had just studied camouflage as well, I chose an Ostrich (Tony Hart, of course). It’s South African, and it has fairly good camouflage. We drew the birds, then used watercolours to paint them (according to their ACTUAL colours), and camouflage them to the background. (Painting is SO teherapeutic!)

The Parable (and the point of this post)

While we were painting, Goldilocks said, “Mom, don’t you think life is like painting?”

Not sure where this was headed, I sagely nodded and said, “tell me more.”

And here’s the parable she relayed:

“God is the Artist. The Holy Spirit is the Water, and we are the paints. Without the Water, the paint is dry and doesn’t really make any colour at all. With a little bit of Water, a picture starts coming, but it only really looks like anything with a lot of Water, and a gentle stroke from the Artist. The more Water you use the better the picture, and if you use a lot of Water, you just get a hint of the colour, and a very realistic picture because of the gentle shading the Water creates.”

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of our relationship with God, the Painter of our Masterpiece?


Posting on walls

We’re so used to posting on Facebook walls that it’s become part of our social lexicon to talk about writing on walls – as if it’s a normal, natural part of what we do now. Which, I suppose, it is. My mom is a talented mural and fine artist, and always joked that she had a hard time telling her kids (and grandkids) not to draw or write on walls when it was how she made her living! Fortunately she is now a full-time teacher and telling kids (whether her own or others) what to do and what not to do is becoming easier and easier every day :).

Recently, I have been overtaken by a desire to draw and paint. I can’t really explain it, since I have an extremely creative job, requiring masses of design and writing work. Even so, the urge to pick up a pencil, sketch an object, then bring it to life with a few well-placed brush strokes is becoming harder and harder to resist.

Sadly, I have had very little practice. The truth is that I have next-to-no technical skill whatsoever. I know I can see, which all the best artists (and their books) tell me is the main ingredient. I know this because I can easily copy most line drawings. I have a good sense of colour (which is a necessity for my work), and I can shade and light images without a hassle. The problem comes with technique. I have no idea which paint or brush to use for which application, nor how they should be applied. I have a lot of experience with fabric paint, but recently discovered that I’d been doing it wrong all along. (Too much water. I like a soft, graded look, rather than the traditional, flat, bold colour look associated with fabric painting).

Part of this is the result of inappropriate or non-existent materials. I don’t have oil paints or accessories. I only have cheap, art-set-y water colours and the brushes that come with those. Actually, I do have some nice brushes, truth be told. I have acrylic paints but no training in their use. And I don’t have nice paper.

What I do have is an abundance of walls and a gracious landlord.

I’ve been promising my girls a mural since before they were born. My talented mom had created one for their room when I was pregnant with Goldilocks, but that room (and my mom) is 600km away now. The painting took some time to complete so it’s never been practical to ship the artist down for a redo – especially with us moving all the time. And besides, wanted to paint. Recently the girls and I decided (rather spontaneously) to use the inside cover of one of their favourite books, All These Things, as the source material for their wall. And this weekend, sneakily, while they were in the bath, I painted it onto the wall. What fun!

All these things: title page

All these things: title page

Love is kind and patient. Never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful and trusting. Love never fails.

~ 1 Cor. 13:4-8

I know that acrylic paint is probably not the right thing for this purpose, and I’m sure a mural should never take just an hour-and-a-bit to complete. But the girls absolutely loved it, and I felt thoroughly satisfied. Red even claimed that she would feel “much more comforted at night” looking at this picture. As the English say, “Bless”.

I think the words will remind all of us of what is truly important in life.

(Now the girls want their own art on their bedroom walls, too. What shall I do? Watch this space to see how it all unfolds …)

TGIF. Well, nearly.

Yesterday I said I’d share the girls’ Peaceable Kingdom drawings, and I forgot. Fail. Although in fairness, they did only finish them today, so I guess that’s as good a reason as any not to share. In fact, I’ve been feeling guilty about how little art we do generally, and now I come to see that: a) when we “do” Art, it can take up to a week to finish any project, so only having 20 pics to show for the year is actually about right; and b) when we “don’t” do Art, we actually end up with a lot more creative expression: paintings, collages, sewing projects, clay projects, 3D jungles … the list goes on and on.

So to sign off that particular waffle, here are the promised and long-awaited Peaceable Kingdom drawings. Enjoy.

Peaceable Kingdom 001 - DD#1 took a lot more care than she often does with this masterpiece.

Peaceable Kingdom 001 - DD#1 took a lot more care than she often does with this masterpiece.

Alright, I know I said I was done with the long bit, but I feel a bit of explanation is in order about what a Peaceable Kingdomactually is, in general, and what these images are about, in particular. Edward Hicks created a series of paintings illustrating the Peaceable Kingdom described in Revelation:

Peaceable Kingdom 002 - DD#2 created a masterpiece, although there's evidence that she didn't appreciate being asked to colour the border.

Peaceable Kingdom 002 - DD#2 created a masterpiece, although there's evidence that she didn't appreciate being asked to colour the border.

The wolf did with the lambkin dwell in peace
His grim carnivorous nature there did cease
The leopard with the harmless kid laid down
And not one savage beast was seen to frown.
The lion with the fatling on did move
A little child was leading them in love.

So here we have, on the left and archer and a canary, a lion ridden by a Wild Girl (I wonder who that could be?), a hawk and a fairy (mortal enemies, as well we know), a mermaid and a shark, and a dolphin and a fish. On the right we have a jaguar and a unicorn (ridden by the Princess), and a bird giving a lift to a worm (which would usually be its lunch, no?). I confess to being delighted in the extreme by these!

Tomorrow, which is actually Friday, we head up North to see my folks for a weekend. Looking forward to it SO much! We’ll probably do  most of our school on the way there and back, and I have no idea what that’ll be like. But I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

So we didn’t bake …

Yesterday I commented that I would much rather be baking than working. (Story of my life). I didn’t bake and I DID get some work done. But I also stumbled across this amazing art lesson site, which just reinforced my recent life lessons, namely: when you need something, it comes the moment you need it, not before (even if you identify the need before the time).

When I created my timetable yesterday I had specifically set aside time for art every day. We’re an arty family (my mom’s a professional!)  and the girls love to express themselves visually. I have some books on the subject but they’re not great and I don’t know the first thing about teaching kids art.  I’d pretty much decided to start with the simplest of the books when I found the site on Home School Year (thanks for posting it!).

So I set the girls to creating Peaceable Kingdom pictures, along the lines of the work of Edward Hicks and Henri Rousseau, the results of which can be seen below. How I love the internet!




The student will learn about artist Edward Hicks. The student will look at paintings of “The Peaceable Kingdom” and create their own Peaceable Kingdoms. The student will compare the work of two artists. The student will learn how to layer with color pencils (or whatever drawing material you select. Crayon resist might also be nice)


Incredible “Illusions”

Goldfish by Riusuke Fukahori. The bowl is real, the rest is painted. Seriously.

Goldfish by Riusuke Fukahori. The bowl is real, the rest is painted. Seriously.

As we’ve been studying optical illusions through the Trust unit of Konos, we’ve been blessed by family sharing their finds with us on the subject. Today my sister directed me to this site, featuring the work of extremely talented Japanese artists Riusuke Fukahori. Using a complex process of painting layers of resin then allowing them to dry, he creates the most phenomenal 3D goldfish I’ve ever seen. (Okay, the only 3D goldfish I’ve ever seen that haven’t actually been goldfish). If I hadn’t watched the video, I would never have believed they weren’t real goldfish! (I still have a way to go on the whole trust thing).

Click here to read the story and especially watch the video. Seriously, don’t miss this one.

More sweet sayings

My darling daughters keep me so entertained and amused. This week included another wealth of gems from their sweet little lips, and as usual I have forgotten most of them (there are so many!).

On Friday, when we butchered the eyeball, I was doing revision of the week’s work with the girls. As you know, right now we’re working through the sense of sight as part of our attentiveness study unit. So I asked, “What do you call animals who see best at night”. Both girls immediately chirped, “Nocturnal!” Delighted at my obvious success as an educator, I continued, “and what do you call animals who see best during the day?”. There followed a few minutes of uncomfortable silence. Finally DD#1 replied, “uuhhh … di …. diversional?”. (It’s diurnal, as you know, of course). It was made so much more amusing by the fact that DD#1 is our so-called “ADD” child, so diversional indeed.

Today, to extend the theme of Looking Closely at Things Around Us, the girls are sketching things, and colouring them in. This involves feats of genius for DD#1, a talented artist, who has successfully transformed two tiny little necklace charms into large scale Manga animations (very accurately proportioned according to the aforementioned charms’ dimensions), with detailed and intricate storylives wandering clear across both sides of three sheets of A4 paper. All in grey-scale, of course, for this is She Who Eschews Colour.

In the meantime, DD#2 has somehow persuaded Mother Dear (that’s me) that it is every bit as educational for  her if I draw the picture and she colours it in. Needless to say, it needed to be a Princess. As is so often the case, it was a fait accompli some time before I realised that I could have – nay, should have – said “no”, and insisted that she draw the picture herself.

However, that isn’t the funny part. DD#2’s super powers at controlling and manipulating those around her to do her spun-sugar bidding are legendary, yes, but hardly new. (You’d think we’d be better prepared by now).

The funny part came while she was colouring in the Princess. She neatly stuck a pink, purple and light blue pencil crayon between the clenched fingers of her little fist and said, “Look, Mommy! Wolverette!” (As in, “a girl Wolverine“). I literally laughed out loud.

(Yes, my six-year-old daughter probably shouldn’t know who Wolverine is, but her closest acquaintances and friends include ten-year-old boys. And I thought making the name feminine all by herself was very clever indeed, Not to mention hilarious).

School Express

This week is Deadline Week. That means I’m very busy and have less time than usual for school. What I found last year was that when I gave the girls the week off so that I could earn an income, we fell far behind in school work. We ended up having to do a lot of extra work to catch up, and we had to do a pretty serious mental adjustment each time to get “back in the zone” for school. I also found that the girls didn’t relate too well to the change in routine, and would end up grumpy and fractious by the end of the week.

In short: it didn’t work.

As an alternative, this year I’m trying something I refer to as “School Express”. A typical school day takes anywhere from five to eight hours, and is pretty comprehensive. We cover Bible studies, social studies, maths, phonics, reading and some writing. It takes time.

This week, we’re doing the “Lite” version: almost as much work, but in three hours or less. We still do Bible studies, phonics and maths. We cover social studies but in a less detailed way. And we read FAST. It’s amusing trying to twist my tongue around  the ancient Hebrew names and less ancient King James English at high speed, but it makes the girls laugh and they seem to recall a lot of it, which is good.

Another solution that seems effective is to find something comparable to what we should be studying, and show it on DVD. For instance, right now the girls are watching the ballet of Midsummer Night’s Dream. When they’re done, I’ll read the story to them (the abridged PDF), and then they’ll paint pictures of it. So we get art, literature, music, history and a little bit of dance. All while I get some work done. Oh, and update my blog 😉

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