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This month with Meet the Masters we have been studying two famous artists – Winslow Homer and Frederic Remington. Next week we start Georgia O’Keeffe and Satori was thrilled to find out we finally get another “female” artist. So far, Mary Cassatt has been the only female artist we’ve studied.

For this blog post I’ll cover our Winslow Homer study. After reviewing the MTM online video where we learned about the American artist Winslow Homer and his techniques, we then experimented with value, and finished up with a project depicting value – with torn paper in various white, black, and gray shades.

As usual, we strengthen our art study with a Mike Venezia book – Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists – Winslow Homer. We love seeing some of the same paintings being examined in the book that Meet the Masters covers as well as other works of art.

Our DVD “The Artists’ Specials” set also features Winslow Homer as one of the six artists featured. These 45 minute films bring the artist to life, usually with a few children characters intertwined in the plot. In this episode, Homer is looking for some peace and quiet after his exposure sketching scenes of the Civil War. All he wants is solitude but two curious children attempt to befriend him.

We also always set Satori’s computer display to a rotating desktop background and slideshow. Here’s one of our favorite paintings of his. Winslow Homer loves paintings of the sea, and especially perilous situations. Here this poor man looks doomed but if you look closely, you will see a glimmer of hope.

Another activity we sometimes do is find a page in one of our artist coloring books which Satori loves to color. This particular “Snap the Whip” painting is included in Art Masterpieces to Color by Dover. I printed out a sample picture for her to copy.

For Artistic Pursuits, Satori experimented with drawing her first still life. I asked her to do this one over the summer but with no direction, she was flustered and gave up. So I gave her some guidance in drawing what she sees. I set up the still life below and filled up a wine glass with grape juice for her.

I find myself working along and this seems to suit us best, as Satori gets a few drawing lessons from me and I get to exercise the right side of the brain.

We were to use water-soluable crayons but we used our Derwent watercolor pencils, in which we have more color choice. Here’s a closeup to see what they look like with water applied. I’m sure I could have taken my time to make it look better, but we’re pleased with how they work for us.

A few days later, Satori lined up all her stuffed animals  with their name tags. Art was one of the subjects her lucky students learned that day.

She usually teaches her class in the morning at 7am, before I’m even out of bed. I hear her prattling on about various topics like the rainforest, Latin, and history. This particular morning I work up to our whiteboard filled with art projects done by all the students in her class, complete with their names on the papers. 🙂

If her stuffed animals are not her students, a real person will make an even better substitute! Daddy often gets taught, and Satori is very eager planning out her lesson schedule the night before. Even Gramy and Grampy got to spend an afternoon this summer in Satori’s class, learning logic and Latin!

I think this is such a fun program! This has been 50% off for a long time at Homeschool Buyers Co-op. I’m not sure how long that offer will last, but if you do purchase through them, you’ll get 3 years access to the program that you choose.

We haven’t done much art lately, but we intend to catch up this summer! We “met” Claude Monet today.

When you log in to the program, you’ll have a chance to print out the lesson and art print PDFs. Once you’re ready for the lesson, head to their online program, with your printouts ready.

It’s a scripted program, so it will tell you what to say, and when to click “Next” on the computer screen. This lesson had us start out with a box of crayons – missing black and brown. Why? Monet avoided brown and black and was one of the first artists to use the spectrum of color in his paintings.

We learned that Claude Monet is considered the “Father of Impressionism”. As the lesson continued, we learned more about his life, his styles, and his paintings.

Satori announced that Monet is her favorite artist, she thinks his paintings are “lovely”. She especially loves his water lilies (of course) and his Japanese bridge paintings. We now have her computer’s screensaver set to cycle through Monet paintings.

The hands-on Art Technique practice was playing around with warm and cool colors, which she already knew, but the worksheets had her also giving soft, strong, and bright examples.

For our first day with Monet, we stopped there. Next week we’ll do the MTM project and I’ll share our results.

We did enjoy reading more about Monet with Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists – Monet and Laurence Anholt’s The Magical Garden of Claude Monet. Next week we’ll read Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlilies (Smart about Art series).

We had so much fun learning about Monet, we couldn’t stop there. I remembered we had a set of DVD’s from Devine Entertainment and one of them included Monet – Shadow and Light.

This 6-DVD set includes: Monet, Goya, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas and Rembrandt. We’ve already watched Mary Cassatt. These videos are suitable for children and adults of all ages.

I am not surprised to see that this company has won awards for their educational videos. They also have DVD series covering Inventors and Composers. I’ll have to check them out sometime as well.

Next week we’ll watch Linnea in Monet’s Garden DVD. This is also on Netflix, but currently the DVD availability is “Unknown”. I wonder what that means.

So far, we’ve purchased two of the MTM bundles. I would love to do the Level 1 (for ages 5-7) quickly, and then do a short study of any important artists they didn’t include, and then dig in again with Level 2.

First off, I apologize for the site expiring and going down for a few hours yesterday. Oops! It marked the day of the SatoriSmiles blog Two Year Anniversary! Exactly two years ago, I decided to homeschool and used one of the available domains I had. So this isn’t the most “homeschooly” domain name, but it sure is full of Satori’s smiles. That’s because we love homeschooling! At the time, I didn’t tell anyone in our family I started homeschooling Satori, but pointed them to this blog as documentation on how Satori could learn at home. Everyone was amazed with her progress.  Two months later, we all knew that homeschooling was a tremendous success! From not being able to write her name at daycare at age 4, to writing storybooks at age 5, it truly has been an amazing experience for us.

To celebrate, I am doing a doing a Giveaway of the book Lives of the Great Artists by Charlie Ayres. I have two copies to giveaway to two random commenters on this post. Monday, February 21, the two winners will be announced and these books will be going to them.

NOTE: This is a children’s book on the great artists, but there are a few images that may not be for sensitive children (artistic nudity, violence). I am not worried for Satori, but for those of you who this might be a concern, read Dawn’s (nestof3) Amazon review for a head’s up on the images you may want to cover up. If you are a winner, and wish to not receive this book (or already have it), I have another book for a giveaway – Andy and the Lion. This is one of the FIAR program’s books, suitable for ages 4-8.

I decided to give away the Art books above, because this year we started really learning about art, and our family’s lives feel so much more enriched. We started using Meet the Masters program (through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op) and so far we’ve learned about Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassat, Piet Mondrian, and Picasso. A few other artists we’ll be learning about this spring include Monet, O’Keefe, Degas, Frida Kahlo and Matisse. Satori has been to people’s houses and she can point out their artwork and tell everybody who did it. I love Meet the Masters!

Here’s a few pictures we have up on our wall from our various art programs, including school (she attends on Mondays).

This is from our general art program, Artistic Pursuits. This lesson was “Artists Communicate”. Here Satori communicated using body and facial expressions what fun it was to meet her best friend Sophia at school. She even used perspective to draw in a smaller (further away) person behind the pair.

The second artist we’re studying in our Meet the Masters program is Mary Cassatt. She specialized in women and children, as at the time, it was inappropriate to paint men that weren’t in her family. She was the only American who exhibited with the Impressionists. She befriended Edgar Degas, an artist we’ll also be studying soon.

Mary loved to use chalk pastels for her painting, so this is the medium we used in this project. Meet the Masters first had us practice drawing a big hat, and then showed us how to position our chalk to get both thick and thin lines. Here are our experiments with making chalk pastel plaid patterns.

After practicing, we made our pattern once again, this time making a hat design on the back. We cut it out and pasted it on black paper. Satori added the woman’s head.

This weekend also marked our very first foray into our new art enrichment program, Meet the Masters! Satori and David had been coloring on the living room floor, so I snuck a laptop in front of them and started playing the lesson. This program is online, so we watched both the Preview and van Gogh Unit lessons. This viewing was Step 1, and we loved the lesson and enjoyed listening to “Starry, Starry Night” by Don McLean. (music and video shown at end of this post)

Step 2 of our van Gogh lesson explored texture and had a few worksheets in the Downloadable Art Packet for Satori to practice drawing texture.

Step 3 is the Create a Masterpiece Art Activity! We used van Gogh’s technique of using little line dabs to make texture, and made our own starry night.  We used black construction paper (actually sulphite) and used oil pastels. The oil pastels really stood out upon the black paper.

The whole family made their own artwork, and we had a print of Starry Night propped up in front of us. (This is our new Art Appreciation binder I made a few days ago).

Here’s Satori’s Starry Night masterpiece!

We used the directions for Track A, Year 1 ages 5-7. There are two other levels you can use if you have older children, so you can get a bit more sophisticated. For Track A, there are age levels of 5-7, 8-9, and 10-adult.

Satori turned around and made another picture, she wanted to draw birds flying on a landscape.

It actually reminded me of Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Wheatfield with Crows”, although I don’t think Satori ever saw it. Now I have it up as a desktop wallpaper on the kitchen computer. We have various van Gogh painting as wallpaper on all our computers now.

Vincent’s story was very sad and tragic, but we loved learning about his life and his passions and sorrows.

Lyrics and explanation found here. An alternative YouTube video without the depressing text at the end is found here.

We are now seeing van Gogh’s paintings everywhere! Now that we studied him in just this initial lesson, we can’t miss his unmistakable art techniques, colors, and subjects. This is exactly what I wanted in starting an Art Appreciation program!

I have a bunch of read-alouds and other activities that we’ll do the next few weeks to continue with our van Gogh study. Meet the Masters only has 7 units, so we could easily whip through the entire first “year” in just a few months. We loved our first lesson, but I’ll have to find ways to slow it down by doing this more slowly, and adding our own fun supplements.