Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Artist in Me

agologo From the department of “Don’t Ask Your Child to Do Something You Won’t Do” comes my latest escapade:  sketching a copy of work of art.

We suddenly, mysteriously became members of the Art Gallery of Ontario a couple of months ago:  my mother handed me an envelope with the Costco membership we impulse-bought at Canada Blooms, a parking ticket, and… “I joined the Art Gallery and your family is included.” 

This incidental thing must have been well over $100.

I kind of stuck the card in my wallet and forgot about it… but when I noticed yesterday that they lend FREE WHEELCHAIRS, suddenly, it was the deal of the century.  Yes!  I may be broken like the Hummel figurine that I am, but I can ride for free at Ted’s capable hands.

Adult admission alone is $20, which partly explains why we hadn’t been in about a decade.  The other reason is that the kids hated it, so we never went back.

Today, we left THOSE kids at home (I always extend an invitation, and sometimes, rarely, they accept) and took the littles “only for an hour.”  Now, when I go somewhere for an hour, I rarely mean it, but today, Ted lucked into the Parking Spot of the Decade – right in front, right on Dundas, but it was only available until 3:30, at which point, like Cinderella, it turned into a no-parking zone.

We took a quick jaunt through a temporary exhibition of Abstract Expressionists, which includes whole rooms of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.  One could spend an afternoon just in there, but really, I wanted to get to the Europeans and portraits, because that’s what we’ve been studying.  The kids mostly thought the abstract stuff was bizarre, if sometimes intriguing.

image In the European galleries, I searched for names I’d heard of (a few Monets, copies of Rodin, an ugly Degas ballerina – and I love Degas!) and a VERY minor Van Gogh.  Toronto really must be a hick town, art-wise.  Must visit Washington DC again before I leave the continent.

I asked Naomi to choose a painting or sculpture to sketch.  She chose Portrait of a Young Girl with Carnations by Jan Albertsz. Rotius.  (you can see it below alongside her own version)

(aside:  What kind of name is Albertsz.?  Is the period there because it’s abbreviated???  Wikipedia says he was born Albert Jansz. Rootgies, but apparently, he moved the period at some point.  Perhaps it’s just decorative.)

Normally, I’d doze off in my (FREE!) wheelchair or wander around while she sketched, but I figure kids draw regardless of whether they think they have talent, right?  Not because they’re necessarily going to be great artists… just for the experience and joy of it.

suzy lake photoBut why shouldn’t I have experiences, too?  Why can’t I be an artist?

So I pulled out my trusty Bic pen and set about copying the portrait next to Naomi’s – a photograph by local artist Suzy Lake called “Re-Reading Recovery #3.”

As it turns out, I like this picture very much.  It certainly captures my own frequent state of mind these days.

And then there’s MY interpretation: cheops 006

Hmm… apparently, I’m not very talented.  Still, I am not entirely displeased.  This homeschooling thing certainly is educating one of us.  And I really do hope, bad art and all, that I can be a role model for them of (gag) lifelong learning.

As for Naomi, she got so engrossed in her sketch that she didn’t finish, so I printed the picture for her when we got home, and I’ll post it here when it’s done.

Friday, edited to add:  It’s done!  She took the oil pastels and went to town with this thing…

imagepainting 002 

She was very proud of all the detail she managed to cram into her copy of the painting.  So am I!

p.s.  I managed to  hobble back to our car one minute before it turned into a pumpkin, and/or got tagged and/or towed away.  Phew!

How are you nurturing the secret artist within yourself while you homeschool???

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