Bringing Masterpiece Artists to a Toddler Level: A Study of Five Major Artists
Understand styles of and create art
clothes that can get dirty
1. Visit local art museum
2. Introduce Monet
3. Landscape art
4. Introduce Rodin
5. Create a sculpture
6. Introduce Michelangelo
7. Paint on back
8. Introduce Ansel Adams
10. Introduce Jackson Pollock
11. Drip paintings
12. Set up Art Museum
13. Invite friends and family
14. Host art show and sell paintings.
I am not an artist. I don't frequent art museums. Though I can appreciate a beautiful piece and the talent one must possess to create works of art. But we at Little Life do not hold back from topics that we know absolutely nothing about. So, we forged ahead with this special Fun Friday all about art.
Our ultimate goal was to have our kids create an art exhibit that they could share with our friends and family. We were going to jump right in having the kids create the art when we realized that they had no idea what an art museum was. We couldn't tell them they were creating an art museum without first sharing the experience with them. A classic mistake adults make when talking to children: assuming the children already know what you are talking about. They will learn more and engage more if they have context.
Therefore, we began our adventure at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. It is a free art museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The museum isn't particularly geared towards children, but they gladly welcome them and host many events throughout the year to encourage children to engage with art. They even had a field trip occurring while we were visiting.
At the museum we learned a lot of new vocabulary including sculpture, abstract, photography, and landscape. We also had an exercise in manners as we toured using our quiet voices and not running. (Not the easiest task with seven small children.)
ARTIST # 1: MONET
After lunch and nap time, we began our artistic adventure. We briefly explored each artist and their style of art beginning with Monet. We looked at a Monet piece and discussed how he painted things one would find in nature. We asked the kids to look outside and choose something they would like to paint. Are most of our kids too young to paint a landscape portrait that is recognizable? Yes. But that doesn't mean they don't gain something from the experience. They are not too young to understand the task we are asking of them and and strive to paint it. We used Tempera paint for all our paintings because it easily washes off. As they completed each piece of art, we asked them to name it.
ARTIST #2: RODIN
Next we talked about sculptures and looked at "The Thinker"by Rodin. For the clay, we bought Crayola's air-dry clay; it's kid-friendly. Again, before we handed them the clay, we asked them for a mission. We wanted them to have a purpose as they played. They told us what they were going to make including angels and flowers. In the end, their mission changed as their clay took shape and they saw something new in the design.
ARTIST #3: MICHELANGELO
Yes, our kids are talented enough to paint just like Michelangelo. What? Yours aren't? :)
We looked at a picture of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. We explained to them that Michelangelo was painting the ceiling of the Chapel, so he had to paint on his back. We taped paper to the underside of their kid table and made them lay on their back to paint. They ended up with paint all over their faces and in their hair, but this was probably their favorite one to do.
ARTIST #4: ANSEL ADAMS
Next we took a look at Ansel Adams's landscape photography. Then we took the kids outside and let them shoot a few pictures of objects in nature that they found interesting.
ARTIST #5: JACKSON POLLOCK
Last, we wanted to let them make a mess, so we studied Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. Unfortunately, tempera paint doesn't drip very well, so they just created an abstract piece.
We took all our art to a local dance studio and placed it around the room in sections. We tagged each piece with the name of the art and the artist. Friends and family came and toured the studio. The ambiance was complete with light jazz playing in the background. In the lobby we also served hors d'oeuvres and grape juice. And of course, all art was for sale.
This was such an easy and cheap Fun-Size Friday to kick things off. Plus, the kids had a blast learning about art and creating their own. Our friends and family were so supportive and overly commending. It gave the kids a huge ego boost, and who doesn't need to feel good about themselves on a Friday night.
So get some paint, some clay, a camera, whatever fits your fancy, explore art and explore LIFE!