Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Creativity

Once again, the weekend was busy, but luckily, one of the busy parts was heading to the RISD Museum for our parent/child art class. (As an aside, when I was five, my mother decided, in one of her plans, that we three kids needed to spend one-on-one time with our father, and we each got to pick an outing. I chose the art museum.) This session, we spent the entire time in the galleries, using different media to draw in different ways. In the Big Buddha room (that is how my three-year-old has always referred to the Dainichi Nyorai Buddha, the first image in the online gallery here), we drew and sketched with pencils, learning what the letters and numbers on the pencils mean. (My son and I already knew this; it's the hardness and softness scale: HB, 2H, 2B, etc, with H meaning hard and B meaning soft, the degree going up with the number. I like 2B or 4B. I cannot stand a hard drawing pencil!)

Then we visited my favorite rooms, the Impressionist Rooms, which just make me happy inside. There, we focused on using conte crayons for gesture drawings, which were hard for my son to get a handle on, and drawing negative space (with charcoal pencils), which was hard for me to get a handle on. (I ended up with a line contour drawing for my first attempt, because as I drew the outline of the negative space I ended up drawing the outline of the sculpture--a Degas ballerina--as well.) I really enjoy gesture drawings, and I wish I had some of ours to show you, but--and this is so frustrating!!--they're holding onto all our work until the last class. I'd better remember to bring a box to the last class! She also had us stand in the same position as the sculpture, on one foot, one leg and arms outstretched, and one boy lost his balance and headed in the direction of a wall hung with paintings and the guard nearly lost it, period. They're very restrained, those guards, but he looked pretty wary of the whole venture!

I do have photos from the last stop, the Greek/Roman gallery, where we were using colored wool roving to "paint" on a felt canvas. The amount of roving--and the colors--wow! We were to find a piece we wanted to work from, and of course I told my son to pick something out, and he chose something completely lacking in color. Made out of marble, actually.

This is the short end of a marble sarcophagus from the 2nd century CE. You can see it in a lot more detail here. I can see why my 7yo boy was attracted to this piece--war! mayhem! battle! I let him pick what colors to work with, too, and he chose red, yellow, and green. I decided to focus on the tree in the upper left.

Given the color choices, I used the red and yellow for the trunk and green for branches.

This isn't a very precise method, at least not in the amount of time we had. And I admit to wanting a spray bottle to give a little spritz here and there. (We rubbed the wool between our hands, then mushed it into the felt "canvas"--that's the grey piece--so that it gently felted and adhered.) It's so simple, though--nothing required but wool and hands.

I love visiting the art museum, and I'm really enjoying this class. For almost a decade now, I've been taking kids to various classes, many of them "mommy and me" type classes, but this is the first one that is geared as much towards the adult partner as to the child. I'm not just the parent facilitator, which is a nice change. I'm not just there to spend time with a child--although it is a nice treat to have one-on-one time with a kid when you have more than  one--I'm there to enjoy myself too.

The art museum has come a long way since I was five!


Donna Lee said...

I like the art museum best of all the places we go. My heart always feels full when we go there.

I think that's why I love the ArtWalk Yarn club. She uses paintings I am familiar with and some artists I've not heard of so I get to learn something new. The hard part of museums for me is not being able to touch things!

Bells said...

Oh! Roving and paint! I can see how that would be fun and it lends itself to that 3D aspect of the sculpture. Perfect!