We’ve initiated our new art and music study over the last several days, beginning with Renoir and Vivaldi in these first few weeks.
Our first assignment was a picture study and coloring page of Renoir’s “The Girl with the Watering Can.”
First, I usually ask them questions about the picture. Who’s in the picture? What is the girl holding? Where do you think she is? What makes you think she’s in a garden? etc.
Next, I ask them about colors, lighting, or anything unusual about the picture. For this one, the kids were fascinated that that her boots were black and her dress was blue. My fashion-conscious daughter really thought she ought to have had blue boots.
And last, I have them choose a part of the picture that is their favorite. The whole exercise probably takes us maybe ten minutes. I don’t drag it out. I just want them to get used to looking for details.
Over the next few days, we continued our picture study by coloring a picture of Renoir’s painting. I love this exercise because it really gives me a good look at the different personalities of my children. My son is Mr. Meticulous, and he scrutinizes every inch of the original to match it as closely as he can. And he does fret if he can’t find the right color to use to match the picture. My daughter, on the other hand, is a true artist and balks at the thought of anyone telling her how she ought to color her picture. She HATES to match the colors, and in this instance, showed her distaste by purposely scribbling outside the lines. And, I might add, included all the colors of the rainbow in the margins around the picture. But regardless, I know she will remember that blue dress with the black boots for a long time to come.
She finished her picture in two days (she was done with it after the first day, but I stretched it to two days). My son, however, took the whole week. And why not? It was because of his precision that it took so long. I just gave the little one some extra coloring pages to make up the difference in days.
For Vivaldi, we’ve danced to the music, listened to it a number of times, and read his biography in Lives of the Musicians. Our facts to remember: He was called “The Red Priest” because of his red hair and red robes; he worked most of his life in an orphanage for girls; and he played the violin. I picked simple facts that I knew would stand out to my kids.
Next, we’re tackling a little music theory this year, too. We clapped out quarter notes and half notes and will gradually add in the rest as time allows.
Art and music time is my fun time. I’m not at all worried about sticking to a schedule; it’s just a fun subject to open our day with.