October 11, 2011

about the art

So I am not really an art person. Crafts, yes, those I can do, but art is a different kettle of fish. One that I am, frankly, terrible at. I would like to be good at something art-like, I'd love to, for instance, be able to paint an awesome watercolor, but what my head wants and what my hands do are wildly different, and not in the artistic license kind of way. And yes, I know that things like sewing and knitting are arts, I do, but I'm talking the classic arts - sculpture, painting, that kind of thing.
This means that art, along with science (for totally different reasons - it's mostly just the gathering of materials thing that holds me back there) is a subject that I am not as confident in teaching. Art museums we have a-plenty. Yesterday I got to stand in a room with about five Monets, a Matisse and a few Van Goghs, so in the looking at art department, we're set. But as my Aunt (who is a rock start art teacher and an amazing artist) pointed out last week, looking is not enough.
When I started planning for our homschool year I emailed her with lots of questions about resources, and my favorite has been Deep Space Sparkle. I bought one of their watercolor lessons a few weeks ago and Briton and I have been working through it with pretty darn good success. Looking at his painting in it's almost finished state, I actually look like I know what I'm talking about. It helps that Briton has inherited more of his dad's art genes than mine, but I'll take a little of the credit. It also helps that the lesson has multiple levels which means that Evie can pop in and do a kindergarten version while Briton is adding a new layer to his work.

The interesting thing about teaching this art lesson to him has been that I've learned a lot of techniques that I didn't know. I'm not actually sure I ever had an art class at school outside the basic projects we did in class. I don't remember my elementary school having an art teacher other than a session with an artist in residence when I was in first grade where we made batik banners. And by the time I hit middle school where I could choose to take art, my heart had been lost to the theatre, so I've never actually learned much about art. It makes me want to take a grown up class. Or just work my way though the Deep Space Sparkle lessons myself.
I'm actually finding that a lot of homeschooling is like that. That I'm learning as much as I'm teaching. Parenthood can be like that sometimes and with homeschooling, it seems to be intensified since you focus so much of your day one what you need to show them. I wonder if other homeschoolers feel this way. Often the homeschoolers I meet seem, almost passe, about what they do. They've been doing it for a while, so maybe it's a little bit of burnout. Maybe by the time your third child is working through New York history it's not really that exciting to stand in Battery Park and try to imagine how it looked when it was the whole of New Amsterdam. But it's still exciting to me. Perhaps it's because I know it's short term, in the same way that I can continue to go-go-go with getting as much as possible out of the city because I know our time is limited, but I love that every day I get to wake up and find out something new with my boy. Corney, yes?
We'll be putting the final touches on his watercolor tomorrow morning and then I have to pick a new project to start on, I'm thinking maybe pastels. I've always wanted to mess around with pastels.