Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Painting with Scissors - part two

Following on from our painting with scissors, after a visit the the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau Cambresis, S and Papa used the same technique to create a picture for the boys' new cousin.

However this time they used old greetings cards which Nanny had stored in the attic.

Papa also made a large picture which he then spit In half to give to each of his nieces, of course they could choose to display it separately or bring it together as a family picture.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Cornflour Paint - exploring colour mixing

S wanted to make some grey paint because he will be in the grey squirrel group at school this September. We talked about what colours we would need and after deciding on white and black we spent a morning colour mixing using food colouring and cornflour paint. There was no particular end purpose other than making grey, although S chose to do some grey hand prints (for a squirrel's tail). Both boys had a lot of fun with high levels of involvement squirting in the colouring, mixing, stirring and watching the colours change. We talked about shades and how we could make light and dark grey by adding more or less black colouring to the white paint. 

Cornflour paint recipe
2 cups cornflour/ corn starch
1 cup cold water
4.5 cups boiling water (adult supervision and involvement is advised)

Stir together to make a fabulous silky, quite thick paint. Allow to cool if needed.

We then divided the big bowl into smaller pots, added drops of food colouring and watched what happens.

Excess paint can be kept in the fridge for a period of time to use another day.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Fantastic Friday - displaying pictures

This display of artwork made me smile - a welcome celebration of their daughter's creations in their home.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Turner's Watercolours - painting in the cafe

One of our most frequently visited museums is The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. 

They are currently showing a watercolour exhibition which includes some less often seen pictures by Turner. 

After spending some time looking at the pictures; the colours, shapes and identifiable objects (horses are always popular for the boys to look for) we went to the cafe and had a go ourselves. What was so fabulous was the short space of time between seeing the real things and having a go ourselves. Obviously we would not cause any harm to the gallery or paintings but whilst waiting for our delicious lunch to arrive we whipped out some paper, a tin of watercolours and a couple of pots into which I poured some water from the one the boy's drinks bottles, and we had a go.

A's face sums it all up - excitement and wonder as the brush passed over the paper leaving a watery coloured trail.

Being watercolours they had dried by the time we had finished our lunch. The whole kit was easily packed into my handbag and we went on our way, stopping to photograph our master pieces next to the watercolour stand in the shop - the closest we could get to photographing the real pictures!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Fantastic Friday - Statue Posing

Whilst walking through a gallery in The Fitzwilliam Museum, S stopped suddenly, bent over with his hands on the floor and shot his leg up in the air. It completely took me by surprise until I noticed the sculptures on the stand above.

I love the spontaneity and making sense of what he saw by having a go himself - right there next to the sculpture. 

What sculptures have you posed as?

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Summer Festival - reenacting visual art

One of our favourite museums is The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. This July we went to their Summer Festival which was largely a celebration of music and dance from around the world. 

The museum is set in a beautiful building. The acoustics were amazing, particularly when the South London Samba band played - you definitely felt the music move through your body as the drum beats echoed and filled the cavernous space.

The boys were equally transfixed by the folk band "Tragic Roundabout" which featured a clarinet, one of S's favourite instruments.

I particularly wanted to see the Ecuadorean dancers, having spent some time teaching in coastal Ecuador before we had the boys.

Papa's favourite act was the juggler who put on a silent movie style show.

Without any prompting when we got home the boys started to reenact lot of what they had seen.

First was the samba drums. The boys stepped side to side in rhythmical jumps, their hands banging down on a imaginary drum, the beat coming from their voices.

S then wanted to be one of the Ecuadorian dancers who were adorned in flamboyant bird headdresses.  He used his owl suit which consists of an eye-patch mask and a cape wings. We put on some Latin music and they moved around the lounge, mimicking several moves they had seen the dancers make.

The juggling came the following day when S wanted to reenact the tricks the juggler performed where he catapulted teaspoons and sugar cubes into tea cups followed by flipping over a tea tray with its contents intact. 

S set out their play tea set ready to start. We talked about how maybe the juggler started with just one or two things and built up to a whole tea set. With this in mind S and A chose a single teacup with which to practise with. 

What visual arts have you re enacted at home?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Fantastic Friday - Bamboo pictures

E"Don't look Mummy, I'm making something"

We have some very long bamboo canes in our garden which were from some bamboo plants we had to remove when we installed our shed. We use them in all sorts of ways and despite being extremely long with sharp bits down the side, the boys have learnt to move them around safely and use them for a variety of different things. 

Today S made this beautiful star shape. It was so big I had to photograph it from the bedroom window to get the full effect.

What would you build?

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Flower Art
"A Flower Playground" by S.
Following on from our Fantastic Friday Sand pictures we continued to explore some temporary art using flowers. On a wet English summer's day we used the sun as our inspiration after reading the book "'Wow' Said the Owl" by Tim Hopgood (ISBN 978-0-230-70104-5).

We began by making some flower head dresses. This came about after a conversation we had about using wire to join things when I was mending S's umbrella with some jewellery making wire. He was intrigued by the snips and pliers and asked what else we could use it for. I gave some examples of using wire, including floristry so when we got the flowers ready later in the day it seemed a natural to use the wire to join some together. (Note there may be sharp ends from the wire, use cautiously with children.)

We then gathered our flowers - supermarkets or flower stalls often sell flowers cheap when they are need their use by date.

As a platform for our sun pictures we used a silver placemat, partly because it was circular but also as a way of confining the flowers.

The boys were very excited to select their own flowers.

A built his picture upwards in a 3D effect.

S started with simple shapes

 but soon added his own thoughts. "I need dark ones now. I'm going to put some inside."

We made the link between our sand pictures being washed away by the sea to us putting the flowers back into the basket and starting something new or different.

S was excited by this prospect and went on to create 7 or 8 different pieces over the afternoon - each one with a story attached to it.

"This is a flower playground...I need a bench in it".

"It's a show all about flowers." S added some mini people to his show.

A followed suit.

"Look Nanny, flowers".

The final flower pictures ended with bugs and insects on them - a lovely home, don't you agree?

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