Now that the school year is officially over, I’m embarking on a summer learning project with my own two children that I’m really excited about. I call it Head, Hands, Heart: Getting Smart About Art, and it involves a little bit of art history, a little bit of theory and technique, and a whole lot of making art together. I do not have a degree in art, and I don’t consider myself particularly artistic (I’m much more likely to create on the computer than with my hands) so this is an opportunity for me to embrace the “be a life-long learner” attitude that we teachers strive to instill in our students!
I am putting together all the resources and activities myself from scratch, and this is the most excited I’ve been about developing a unit since the Genius Hour project I created back in March. I’ll admit that I have a tendency to get far too caught up in researching new ideas — must be the librarian in me! — but it has been a real joy to steep myself in the lives and works of groundbreaking artists. It’s also giving me an opportunity to explore some new technology resources, which I always enjoy, and find new ways to use old favorites like Blendspace, VoiceThread and ThingLink.
For the next several weeks my blog posts here will be primarily devoted to what we’re discovering and creating. I’ll be sharing photos of our artistic process and completed works, as well as links to my online and printed resources. My first approach to any project is to look for a book on the topic in question, and this art study is no exception! Here’s what our art bookshelf looks like right now, with more books to come. Many of these books are from my school library, so I’ll really get to know my art collection well this summer and be ready to fill in some gaps next year.
I found a big desk (the top measures 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet) at our local Goodwill for only $20 and stocked it with basic art supplies that we had around the house. As you can see, the desktop extends beyond the back wall to form an overhanging counter, which means we can pull extra chairs up to it so that all three of us can work there together and leave our projects spread out for as long as needed.
I’ve also just created an account with Amazon Affiliates, which means that if you see a useful resource here and purchase it on Amazon via a link from this site, I will receive a small commission (4% of your purchase) in the form of an amazon.com credit. If you’re purchasing books for a library, you probably buy from a vendor that provides library bindings, just as I do; but if you’re shopping for yourself, Amazon offers some very attractive discounts as well as reader and editorial reviews, and (usually) a chance to look inside the book and see for yourself whether it will meet your needs.
I hope you enjoy following our journey across the world of art, and I hope our discoveries will inspire you to create some art yourself. If so, please share it in the comments!