A is for Artist: An attempt to introduce my kids to art

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With both kids largely off from organized activities all summer, I was looking for a fun way (for all of us) to learn a little something at Camp Mommy. My kids benefit from having at least a little structure to their days, and we can’t spend every day all day at the pool, and I had been thinking for the past year how I wanted to teach them more about art. We do a lot of arts and crafts at home, and they both get great art time at school, but I want them to understand how many different artistic media exist and how being an artist doesn’t just mean that you can paint or draw.

Remy had a leg up on this idea: she attended a totally awesome art class at the PMA for most of the year. I highly recommend it to anyone who has young children. During the first part of class, parents and kids visit a work of art with the teacher, who explains it in completely kid-friendly terms. After a (usually hilarious) discussion/critique and a game or activity, the kids go back to the studio to create their own work of art, and the parents get a little time to drift around the museum. By themselves. At the PMA. It is the stuff of dreams, I tell you. Anyways, Remy really enjoyed the class, so I knew that both of my kids were age-appropriate to begin learning about varied forms of art.

We’re going to be looking at artists alphabetically. Our “A” lesson (which was not really a lesson at all, just looking online or in my photography books and discussing some very basic concepts) focused on Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus, two photographers with very different style and foci.

To embrace our inner Ansel, we took walks around the neighborhood, focusing on nature and landscapes. I’d like to have them continue this theme in slightly more scenic and picturesque locations-like a garden or mountain, but for now, West Philly served us well.

Here were some of the results:


Some of them turned out quite ummm…abstract and whimsical, but it was fun going back through the images with the kids and discussing composition and how to adjust the lens and our own distance from the camera (and also how to hold still while taking a picture).

Remy is basically wearing the leftovers from her snack here. You can see little baked pea particles all over her face.

Remy is basically wearing the leftovers from her snack here. You can see little baked pea particles all over her face.

Our discussion of Arbus’s work and portraiture in general was very intriguing, with about 1/2 of it consisted of Elijah telling me that he definitely did NOT want to go to a nudist colony (where Arbus completed a series of photos) and asking why people would want to go to one and if you could go to one and still wear clothes. We also discussed how to “frame” people and fill it with who or what we wanted since Remy kept saying “I keep cutting you head off, Mommy.” Not that you’d be able to see my face anyways since Harvey’s tongue was covering it.



Remy’s favorite subject is Harvey. I love that you can get an idea from her photos of how close she likes to be to him all the time.


And Elijah with his chin on his hand? I can’t even-where does he learn this stuff?


Both kids love using cameras (especially Mommy’s fancy camera), so these activities were an easy sell; we’ll see how the next ones turn out. I’m blogging about this little experiment to keep myself accountable, so stay tuned for B-Pierre Bonnard!


This entry was posted in art, art activities, Elijah Bean, Remy Roo, summer activities and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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