This week I started something new with my homeschool kids. I have declared Fridays as "Fantastic Fridays with the Arts." After a productive week of homeschooling our core subjects, we will spend our Fridays immersed in the arts. We will be learning about a different artist and musician each week. Today, we learned about John Singer Sargent (the American portrait artist, 1856-1925) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (the Russian composer, 1840 - 1893). I will be basing my weekly choices upon artist's birthdays. Sargent's birthday was on January 12th. I added Tchaikovsky to the line-up because he and Sargent were creating their masterpieces during the same period in history. I found a calendar at Artists Calendar 2010: EnchantedLearning.com, that lists many well known artist's birthday.
We began our morning by learning a bit of historical background about Tchaikovsky. I used the website Classics for Kids. On this website, you can find 6 minute radio shows that discuss, in a kid friendly way, many famous musicians. The radio shows can be played from their website. We followed a link that took us to another show about "The Nutcracker." We then watched a bit of "The Nutcracker" ballet.
After lunch, we turned our attention to the artist, John Singer Sargent. We used the internet to view many of his famous portraits. The artist calendar from Artists Calendar 2010: EnchantedLearning.com provided biographical information about Sergent. I then showed the kids how to create their own portraits using a paper folding technique to aid in the placement of facial features. I played Tchaikovsky's music while the kids worked on their portraits.
Check out the result!! In this picture, you can see the fold lines used as a guide. We folded the paper in half and then unfolded to make a crease. We then took the bottom of the paper and folded it to the middle fold and then unfolded it. This should leave a fold line in the middle of the paper, and a fold line about 3/4 of the way from the top. The placement of the facial features goes like this - eyes on middle fold, mouth on the bottom fold, and nose between the two folds. The ears are also between the two folds. Kids find this to be an easy technique that takes the stress out of portrait drawing.
Check back weekly for a new Fantastic Friday with the Arts!!