Friday, 30 August 2013

2 Art museum field trips

So far we have been on two field trips to visit local Museums in the city.  These were with two different  homeschool groups.  I am trying out different ones to see where we will fit in.  Right now I am just signing up for field trips as we decided the whole coop class thing was not right for our family at this time.

First museum we went too, was Kemper Museum which is part of one of the Universities.  The topic was on faces and seeing various paintings and trying to read what the artist was conveying just by the face of the model.  

Next the children were given piece of an puzzle of an picture in the museum and asked to put it together and then we went on a hunt for the art work

Kids found it!  Daniel Boone and the road West.  we got a little bit of history on this man, unfortunately my kids have been in the UK too long and had know idea who he was:(  Something I will be rectifying over the next two years as we work on American History.

The kids were then asked to completed two different masks showing two different emotions/feeling

Firedrake version

MarioFan's version, he didn't put much effort into it:(  Not one of  our better days for this young man

The next field trip we went on was a couple weeks later.  Visiting the St. Louis Art museum.  I must say I was quite impressed with this museum and its collection.

When we first arrived the kids were given an art journal

This time we were looking at different mediums for art, sculpture, paint, shells, wood etc 

Kids were asked to look at an portrait of George Washington, Thankfully they did know who he was;) and to draw it but make it more modern.

When stopping to look at other art Firedrake did a few sketches on her own while listening to the docent

Next the kids went into the art room

They created masks!
We are still getting our bearings with new homeschool groups and while we haven't made any connections outside of these groups, we are hoping that with time we will:)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

City garden -- Sculptures

We joined a local Homeschool group for a tour of the City Gardens in the middle of St. Louis.  This area was originally a dilapidated 2 blocks of old buildings.  It was razed and in its place is a beautiful sculpture garden.
This garden was built in 2009

You can pick up a brochure at the garden to explain the meaning behind the sculptures.  We had a tour with a local volunteer to explain things to the children.  There were many whimsical statues.   We were also told many of the flowers and stone used in the garden are  native to various parts of the state.   Many items in the the garden encourage children to touch and explore 

This wall mural is of 3 women and caged parrots or birds, symbolizing women's confinement to the rules of society.    Yeah, I don't see it either;)  

This sculpture symbolizes the death and rebirth of the area.  Kids loved that they could climb inside it

Kids posing like the rock sculpture

There was also a water fountain in the middle of the gardens.  The tour guide lost all the children and even a few adults at this point, as it was a very hot day.  Thankfully she was patient and sat down with some the Moms and waited until the kids were ready to move on.

A little pond and they encourage young children to get it:)

This area represent Cahokia mounds which we had just visited, you can't tell here but the horse is on top of a hill, like the mounds in Cahokia.   Although the Indians did not have horses during this period.  So not sure of the connection there

Right as we were thinking about leaving a group of musicians set up and began to play so we hung around and listened to some music. 

We had a great time touring the garden.  We were told at night the water fountains change color.  I definitely want to go back and see it at night.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Ancient Indian Mounds

Cahokia Mounds are not too far a away and since the kids and I are beginning to explore early America history we decided to drive to take a look at the particular part of early Native American History.  According to their brochure Cahokia Mounds is one of the largest prehistoric Indian sites north of Mexico.  This site was first settled around AD 700 and developed into a highly structured community with a population of 10-20,000 people at its height.  Around AD 1200 the population began to decline and by the late 1300's it was essentially abandoned but the great mounds are still present today.  The have a very impressive visitor center and we spent nearly 4 hours there!

THey had a very interesting replica of a village 

Axe head that have been found in the area 

Arrow heads

There was a description on how people tattooed themselves, that had to hurt!

Different ways of tattooing the faces

I thought this was very interesting hard to believe we had something bigger than London, maybe I lived there too long:)

Types of food they would have eaten
 There were some recipes out that the Indian might have used...we picked these two to make at home in the next few weeks.

A burial site was found and this is the replica of it

bone sewing needles

rope work

How they made bowls with clay using  the coil methods

making a bowl out of a piece of wood and the many stages.

 After visiting the Center we went outside to see one of the mounds and climbed it
It doesn't look to big from the side

It is built on two layers and 120-130 steps later we made it to the top!

It is believe the Chieftain live on the top of the mound

Just down the road is a Woodhenge that the Indians used to tell seasons.  Their were a total of five in this area but this is the only one represented.  It is believe that that it could be seen at one point by the mound my family climb and the chieftain and his priest could tell when the equinox or solstice would come and they would hold special ceremonies

The white strip on the poles tells where the sun rises for either the equinox or the solstice.

The center pole which was hand cut using a stone tool and painted red ochre just like it would have been years ago.  I should also mention that during the period of these individuals red cedar trees grow abundantly in this area.  They no longer do
There were several short films in the visitor center explaining how they believe things were built or worked...all were fascinating to watch.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Artist Lesson Frida Kahlo

The kids have been working on Meet the Masters artisit -- Frida Kahlo.  Our local library does not carry the Mike Venezia Greatest artist books:( so we made do without.  Frida Kahlo is a famous Mexico artist and she lead a very tragic life in many ways.  Contracting polio as a child and then a horrific bus accident as a young adult.  She was never able to have children after her accident.

First the kids drew their pictures out with pencils -- the goal of this project was to include Frida favorite pet, a bird, and at least 3 pieces of fruit

Next the kids using oil pastels to color it in

We also learned that many of her painting had a retablo added to her paintings.  Firedrake made up a saying, based on what she thought Frida might like, and got it translated into Spanish using the computer  "Death is the sunset of the perfect day"  she added it to the Mexican flag

MarioFan decided to just add the Mexican flag to his picture
And this is my attempt at the style:)

It took a while to find a you tube video on Frida Kahlo that held the kids interest, we attempted to watch this one together, the kids made it about halfway before losing interest.   I decided to watch it on my own once the kids left and found it very interesting.  The kids found some of her paintings to be a little disturbing:).  Please preview this video before showing it to your children as some kids might find the pictures disturbing (mine turned away from some of the paintings).