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Art, Homeschooling

Review: Seashore Video Art Course

After a week at the beach, our family was ready to ease back into school very very slowly. I knew that we needed to find our groove again, but I wasn’t ready to jump back into the entire usual routine.

After all, it is May and things are slowing down

I needed something fun. something new. something enjoyable.

That’s when I saw it online. A new video art course perfect for the summer.

Seashore Video Art Course for All Ages Continue Reading

Art, Field Trips, Homeschooling, North Carolina

Meet an Art Conservationist: NC Art Museum

During our recent visits to the local art museum to tour the Childe Hassam and the Marks of a Genius exhibits, we stumbled upon an art conservationist working in the museum.

Painting in full view of the public eye, she was set up in an area created for the public to explore the art of conservation.

She immediately welcomed the kids and explained what she was doing.  She mixes her own paints and described that process for them.  The kids were invited to explore the back of the painting to see what she was working on and some of the problems caused by previous restorations before we knew what we know now.


The artist was eager to discuss her artistic endeavours with the kids and answer all of their questions.  My 11-year old, a budding artist, had a lot of thoughtful questions for her.  I was excited for her to see a career option in art world, so we asked about college education requirements.  This conservationist had both a chemistry and art degree!

The area is set up to explore the science of conservationism, so she took us through the display and explained how conservationists record their work.


While we just stumbled upon this unique experience, the conservationist is present and working in the museum on a regular schedule:


Unfortunately, after some persistent digging and exploring the NC Art Museum website, I could not find this information advertised on their site.

If you visit during the week (every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-11:30 and 1:30-3) then you will find that you pretty much have her attention to yourself.  Thankfully she is also working on select weekends listed above on the sign.

Around the corner from the conservation display is an area of interactive artwork.  This map of North Carolina invited viewers to share their NC story on a post-it note and add it to the map.


We spent some time reading stories that other visitors shared.  Personally, I enjoyed this one:


Then we shared our own stories.




(We used to live in MD and we moved here)

Interactive art is a lot of fun for the kids and a unique way to explore the art world.  If you stop by this area of the museum, add your story to the map!

Have you seen a conservationist at work?  

Art, Field Trips, Homeschooling, North Carolina

NC Museum of Art: Marks of Genius

Included with your ticket to the Childe Hassam exhibit, currently at the North Carolina Museum of Art, is Marks of a Genius:  100 extraordinary drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Admittedly, we were not prepared with any background for this exhibit, so I had to wing it with my kids.  The exhibit is described on the website as:

The selection of drawings, watercolors, gouaches, and pastels dating from the Middle Ages to the present includes stellar examples by such masters as Guercino, Annibale Carracci, George Romney, François Boucher, Thomas Gainsborough, Edgar Degas, Käthe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, Emil Nolde, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ed Ruscha.

This eye-opening exhibition illuminates the historical and ongoing role of drawing as a means of study, observation, and problem solving, as an outpouring of the artist’s imagination, and as a method of realizing a finished work of art.

The sketches by master artists available for viewing were astonishing to me.  Really?  I can just walk on into this exhibit and snap a photo of a Picasso?


Or a Matisse?


How about Lichtenstein?

Yep.  With the flash off, you are allowed to snap photos but you can not sell them.

This is the sort of exhibit that allows you to see a variety of  drawings by many master artists through history.  We walked through the rooms and discussed drawings that caught our eye.  Occasionally I threw out questions to engage the kids in the artwork.

Is there a drawing here that depicts anger?  love? joy?

Where do you see texture?  What do you think they feel like?

Which sketch is your favorite in this room?  What do you like about it?

Overall, we had already spent about 15 minutes in the Hasaam display so the kids were able to engage this display for about 15 minutes more.  Six year old children, at least in my experience, have a tolerance of  about 20 minutes or less.  My 13 year old feels the same way.  I believe I got away with 30-35 minutes because the two exhibits were so different.

Of course, if you have an child who is interested in art, you might be able to meander for a longer period of time.  My 11 year old now appears to be one such child so I will have to work out extended visits for her somehow.

It is well worth the trip to the North Carolina Musuem of Art for this exhibit.  Be sure to stop by before the last day on June 19.

Art, Field Trips, Homeschooling, North Carolina

NC Museum of Art: Childe Hassam

We became members of the NC Museum of Art this year as part of our homeschooling fine arts curriculum.  We take advantage of our free member tickets to every exhibit that travels to the museum.  The current exhibit at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh features the work of Childe Hassam, an American Impressionist.

Childe Hassam spent many summers painting on the Isle of Shoals off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.  The works being featured at this North Carolina museum were all painted while on this Isle.

Before taking kids to the art museum, I like to do a little research on the artist and become familiar with his/her work.  Becoming familiar with the artwork helps the kids engage more with the exhibit when they arrive.  The paintings feel more like friends and less like strangers.

This particular artist did not have any books at the library to introduce us to his work, but we found something better – a complete 27 minute documentary produced by UNC-TV focused on the Childe Hassam exhibit at the NC Museum of Art.

From the UNC-TV website:

Experience American impressionist Childe Hassam’s art, and gain a deeper appreciation of its significance, as we take an in-depth look at the North Carolina Museum of Art’s American Impressionist: Childe Hassam & the Isles of Shoals exhibition. The exhibit, running through June 19, features nearly three dozen of the artist’s finest oil and watercolor paintings created during summers on the Isles of Shoals.

The television program was the perfect way to educate our family on the life and works of Childe Hassam with a special focus on the works on display at the NC Museum of Art.  If you are able to see this exhibit, with or without children, I highly recommend that you watch this documentary first.

Pictures were not allowed in the exhibit, even without a flash.  Of course pictures could not adequately capture the colors and vibrancy of these paintings.  So instead, here we are afterward, having a cookie at Insomnia Cookies by the NC State Campus.


If you live local to the museum, I recommend a visit before the closing date of June 19, 2016.

Books We Read, Homeschooling

Story Sunday: What’s in our book bin?

This week we have been enjoying, “Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art.”

image1If you have a budding artist in the house, then I can not recommend this book enough.

In the pages of this fantastic book, you will find a collection of short, focused biographical pieces from various childrens’ book illustrators.  Each illustrator shares a very brief story about their journey as an artist.  The illustrators write in a way that is very conversational, as if they were talking to the reader.

Included for each illustrator are images of early doodles from childhood as well as first published pieces.  We particularly enjoyed some of the photographs of the illustrators in their studios.

Some of the featured illustrators are well loved in our house: Tomie dePaola, Eric Carle, Jerry Pickney, Chris VanAllsburg, and RoseMary Wells.  (many of whom have become authors of children’s books as well)

Others were unfamiliar to us:  Barry Moser and Alice Provenson.

There are many more included in the book and we look forward to reading them.

One suggestion is to use this book over the course of several weeks.  Read your children several of the books illustrated by one specific illustrator and at the end of the day/week/reading time, read the biographical story by that illustrator.

Or you can do what we did and just enjoy several of the stories by illustrators right away.  We got started with a few whom we know well.  We’ll get a few books by some of the unknown illustrators and then read their story as well.

I doubt we will read all 23, but I am quite confident that the budding artist in the house will read the majority, if not all!

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