A Spring Time Still Life

So the girls have been working in their sketch books some this spring. The older gypsy picked up a book from Half Price Books called Funky Things to Draw and she usually picks a page a week to work from (and no tracing allowed!...I know, I'm so mean). She typically picks animals to work on. On this particular day she decided to draw ladybugs...er, excuse me, ladybirds.

And the little one (who I've decided is part horse) has been working thru her I Love to Draw Horses book (which we ended up buying as I knew this was one she would use for years - definitely shelf-worthy). It teaches the circle method of drawing, which I'm not crazy about, but it does seem to help her feel more confident, and then again, what do I know? I have to help her a little with joining the circles to create the shape, but the rest is all her.

We also worked on our first still-life a few weeks ago. I regret that I didn't have nice paper for them to work with (or nice paints, for that matter) but we're making do with what we have. I mostly just wanted to give them an idea of what a still-life painting is, what the steps are and what shading and highlighting means. We started by framing out our still-life so they could see what we were going for visually. I helped them get started with the vase shape, then they got to work on drawing and painting.

One thing I learned watching them do this project is how differently they process the tasks. The older one works quickly, breaking it down into steps and finishing each step in record time (not sure if this is a byproduct of always rushing in public school or just her own innate sense of 'gotta get it done').

In contrast, the little one will sit and work on her projects at a turtle's pace. She gets upset it if isn't 'right' and takes her time. She's definitely more detail oriented, as they say.

After they finished painting the base I showed them how to add highlights and shadows. The little one overheard me telling the older one how to do this step and was quite proud of herself for adding her own shadows. I worked with her a little more on highlights and details but she seemed to grasp the idea on her own (or, I should say, wanted to take the time to do it herself, while the older gal was willing to just let it be).

I think for a first ever still-life they did pretty good. I think better paper (they used really thin paper) and paints that aren't so watery will be in order for our next class. I picked up some nice watercolor paper recently so I think we may work on a watercolor still-life next.

I also learned they both worry too much about things being 'right' or looking 'good', so half the battle with them it seems is getting them to appreciate that not every drawing or painting has to look good. I want them to embrace the process, not just the finished product. This keeps them from wanting to try because they're afraid it won't be 'good'. I'm not sure where this comes from but it seems we have some unlearning to do. I don't mind them working on something over and over till they are satisfied with their work, but I'm not seeing them willing to work thru both sides of the process.

Am I dealing with typical kid-ness?

I suppose this may be where I realize I'm not a qualified art teacher and perhaps should just fork over money to a professional. Sigh.

Moving on.

We're still sending off thank you notes, though I'll admit, we're several weeks behind. We try to send one each, every Monday, after journal writing, but we've had family in town for several weeks now and seem to be a bit distracted. At least that's my story for now and I'm sticking with it.

I let the little gal do an extra side project recently as well. Since her older sister was in public school longer she got to do the popular Eric Carle collage art project (seems like most schools do this?) and the little one didn't. I didn't want her to miss out (plus older sister likes to pull hers out on occasion and remind little sister she didn't get to do one - ahem, not to rub it in or anything - so we evened up the score a bit)

And did our own version.

Which basically was painting messy swirling pages of various colors. Cutting these painted sheets into shapes. And gluing it all into the shape of, well, she picked the caterpillar.

So now she too has an Eric Carle masterpiece to show Nana and Grammy when they come to visit.
Oy vey.


  1. Beautiful! All of those projects look just beautiful. Thin paper notwithstanding, your girls have a great art teacher! Good job encouraging them so well!

  2. aw, thank you for your sweet comment! :)