Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meeting the Master: Winslow Homer

DSC02531We’re kind of getting into a comfortable rhythm with our Meet the Masters art program.  We do things usually in two stages: 

First, we watch the slideshow while I read the script.  This is a great, thorough introduction to the artist along with some simple notes on style or technique. 

I also reserve library books, but with our current artist, Winslow Homer, that proved somewhat difficult.  We usually read the Mike Venezia “Getting to Know” artist biographies, and he does have one for Winslow Homer, but that happens to be THE one the Toronto Public Library doesn’t have in its collection.  I feel almost embarrassed for Winslow Homer; he gets almost nothing compared to the bounty of Picasso books for kids.

image The third thing we do in the first “stage” (usually the same day as we watch the slideshow) is copy one of the paintings from Start Exploring Masterpieces and use watercolours to fill it in.  There are no rules, but usually we try to stick to the original colours.  Sadly, there’s no Winslow Homer in there, however, Dover’s Art Masterpieces to Color does have one, so I used that instead. 

I invited Ted to join us, and our paintings fell into the usual pattern:  Naomi Rivka colours her painting sweetly and neatly, filling the entire page as literally as she can; I use big blobs of paint and kind of try to get the “gist” of the original without having to waste a lot of time on the details… and Ted goes back and forth staring at the original until he can recreate it amazingly well, considering he’s working from a palette-in-a-tin that has fairies on the outside.  Not exactly artist-quality.

Oh – and Gavriel Zev lets his paintbrushes have an amazing adventure, soaking them in the water and then dancing them around on the page until it usually get a hole in the middle and possibly a tear as well.  His painting is in the picture at the top of this post!

DSC02529   DSC02532 DSC02533

NOTE:  These are COLOURING PAGES.  I did not draw this painting myself; I only coloured it in with watercolours.  I say this because a friend recently insisted I really could draw because I have all these great paintings up on my blog.  I assured her that I truly can draw only barely at the stick-figure level!

In the second stage, which we haven’t gotten to yet for this artist, we spend about 2 weeks to a month reading whatever library books I’ve managed to round up (which won’t happen with Homer, sadly).  At some point, usually in an evening, I pull the (simple) materials together and we sit down to complete the final project.  This part is detailed and scripted step-by-step in the Meet the Masters program and the directions are usually very clear (though I didn’t like our last project, for Monet, at all).

Then, I hang everything up on the wall and we get to enjoy our own art masterpieces for a few weeks,  until it’s time to move on to the next artist!

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