Copy Cat Art: Learning to Draw

One of my favorite learning to draw books is Mona Brooke’s Drawing with Children. You should see my copy of the book. It has highlights, underlining, notes in the margins, and asterisks to remind me where I read points that I want to remember.

The “Before You Draw” section is one of the most important parts of the book for the parent/teacher. In this section she takes the myths about drawing and gives us sound reasons why we need to look at teaching children to draw with a new light.

Here is a marvelous quote from page 11:
“We need to stop mystifying the drawing process and explain to students how artists actually achieve the results they do. For instance, Picasso and Michelangelo both copied other artists’ work for at least two years as part of their initial art training.” She wrote this in response to the myth that “real artists draw from their imaginations and don’t need to coy things”. She then says, “They(artists) make sketches from other drawings and photographs, rearrange things, add ideas from their imagination, and create what is considered an original piece of artwork.”

Aha! This is something we can do with our children. If you do picture study in your home, this can be the first step to learning to draw. View the artwork, study it, sketch it, rearrange it, add to it, make it your own. This is something everyone can try at home.


Right Ideas at the Right Time: CM Education

Charlotte Mason Right Ideas at the Right Time @harmonyfinearts
I have come to enjoy my weekly reading in Charlotte Mason’s writings. I print out the chapter from the book and then sit snuggled up with my pen in hand….gleaning some fresh ideas for my homeschooling and family life. This week we are reading chapter 6 in volume 3 and it is titled, “Examining Some Educational Theories”. How boring of a title is that? I sort of thought this would be a chapter that I just skimmed through and moved on but I found some gems as always.

Here is her definition of education and a little explanation:
“We think of education as the art of making relationships, or, to be more clear, we think of education as the consideration of which relationship are appropriate for human beings and how those relationships can best be established. Humans come into the world with the capacity to make lots of different relationships. We as teachers have two concerns. First, we need to facilitate this by exposing children to the right ideas at the right time, and making sure that children have good habits that will allow them to make the most of their exposure to these ideas. And second, we need to stay out of the way so that our interference doesn’t prevent the very relationships we want them to form.” Volume 3 page 65-66

The three things that I highlighted in the quote are the points that I am going to take away from this chapter. Exposing our children to the right ideas at the right time, instilling good habits, and then staying out of the way so they can make the relationships on their own are the basis of a good educational philosophy. I think that homeschooling moms sometimes want to “teach” their children what they think they should know when we really are just the director setting the stage for a wonderful scene to take place. Our children need to make connections and relationships with the material they are studying.

You may be interested in reading this post: Building Good Habits in High School

Mary Cassatt: An Artist for Mothers and Their Children


From Color Your Own Mary Cassatt from Dover Pulbications

This is the month for viewing Mary Cassatt‘s paintings in our house. As usual, I made our computer’s wallpaper one of her paintings and the boys are taking turns telling me about it.

We read Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artist: Mary Cassatt and had to chuckle at several of the pages. I know these books are not meant to be serious and the boys find them a great way to be introduced to a new painter. I followed up the reading of the book with viewing her artwork online, turning a rainy afternoon into a very enjoyable experience.

The boys decided they wanted to try to do some sort of activity to follow up their online gallery viewing and I just happened to have Color Your Own Mary Cassatt from Dover Publications. This is such a great coloring book for colored pencils or watercolors if you pull the page out and work at a table.

Here are some paintings for you to get started in your study of this really fun artist.

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)

Link to Self Portrait

The Bath (La Toilette), 1891
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, 1878
The Boating Party, 1893-94
Two Children at the Seashore, 1884

I hope you can take a few minutes this month to share this special woman impressionist painter with your children. She has a fond spot in my heart made by the subjects of her paintings, mothers and children are something I hold dear.

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