September 17

We are currently finishing off the Explore Arts Award . Planning to dedicate the summer term to the Bronze award. In between the two we will try some of the drawing courses on Jam plus one of our monthly Weds groups has a decidely arty lean. We will of course catch as many exhibitions that catch my eye as we can – there’s one at the Portrait Gallery I fancy, the Russian one at the Tate, and Impressionist one coming up, Cezanne…

Aug 16

This is turning out to be a subject we both really enjoy.  Sam has been getting in to cartooning and drawing and I’ve taken to sitting drawing with him.  He likes books to help and I’ve found a really good one for us to work through this year called How to Draw Cool Stuff for us to work through.  As we’re around on a Tues I might see if we can get back in to Sketch Tuesday too.

Looking beyond drawing the plan is to dip our toes into the water of external qualifications by working on the Art Awards.  We’re starting on Explore as Sam isn’t yet 11 and I think gentle introduction.  The idea is to capitalise on our urge to get out and about as the cooler weather comes and do so natural themed art.  Plans are still sketchy as I intend to see where his interests take us.  We’ll start with photography having seen an exhibition on Wildlife photography yesterday.

I’m hoping we’ll make it to the O’Keeffe exhibition and the one about colour and eyes at the NHM and use those as platforms.  Plus hopefully go and see the Art in the Park at Hillier Gardens.  I’ve booked a day workshop too at a smallholding looking at natural art.

The idea is to explore as many different forms and media as possible, making art from things we find and inspired by what we see.

The second half of the year I am hoping to find some courses and materials to help him look at digital art (which I suspect is where his interest will lead him) for him to learn and develop skills as he has ideas on projects he’d like to use for his Bronze award.

Aug 15

Another one that reading back on I had over complicated, over ambitious plans for last year.  The art award group never came off due to lack of take up.  We never managed as much outdoor sketching as I’d like.  Problem of taking friends on nature walks, can draw or socialise not both!  Plus I keep forgetting the Book of Centuries.  Will try a bit harder this year.

Art group became too hard work and Sam wasn’t enjoying the social side any more.  Did enjoy the art though.  Plan on abandoning the worksheet side this year, not sure that added anything that we couldn’t gain from observation and discussion.

Still working through the artists from the Anholt’s Artists books.

So plan is to look at an artist a half term and one particular piece of work of theirs a week.  Sometimes if we have a busy week I suspect we won’t get round to art but it’s an aim to do one a week not a rule.

Artists we plan to do.

Van Gogh – Van Gogh plan


Marc Chagall (new Anholt book out in Nov)

Then we run out of Anholt books I think so pencilled in we have




We’ll go for the modern.  Might do O’Keefe instead of one as fancy the Tate exhibition next summer.

Aug 2014

Another subject we don’t find as much time for as I would like.  This time it is not lack of motivation but lack of time that is the determining factor.  Hoping that by reorganising our schedule/activities a bit and studying alongside others we will find the carve out the time.

Three elements

1) He’ll be starting art classes at a centre in Fareham to work on the lower levels of the Art Award (dipping toe into field of recognised qualifications).  I think that these will only be a short term thing for this term though.  Should add hopefully – will depend on whether enough sign up for them to run the course.

2) Sketching practice.  We’ll be working on observational drawings, taking our Book of Centuries out to museums and a sketch book on nature walks.

3) Introduction to Famous Artists.  We’ll be looking at a different artist every half-term and a different piece of work every week.  We’ve chiselled time out in our week by planning on  slotting it in before Spanish so friends will be joining us.

We are going to make use of stories and start by covering the artists in Anholts Artists series.


I have prepared factsheets on our first artist and works of art we’ll be covering.  We have quite a few different about the artist books although these ones are the best.

20140826_9We won’t do the artist worksheet with the group and we will see on the timing about the works of art ones.  May do the facts element and leave the opinion element to be done individually.  Developing opinions and considering why he likes/dislikes works of art is something I am keen to work on this year.


The second aspect of the artist study is observation.  Very much placing my own interpretation on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy I’ve produced a series of ‘picture study’ worksheets which encourage the children to look at the picture or a particular element ofthe picture in detail and then try and reproduce from memory.


The third element is to produce their own piece of work inspired by the one we are covering.  I’m not an artist (although hopefully not completely incompetent) so focus will be more on expression and exploring different media than on technical skills. Plan for first half term can be seen here – Matisse plan. Over the years I have greatly whittled down my art books to a few good ones that I can draw on for inspiration if needed, Matisse though with his simple lines and strong colours provides all the inspiration needed.


The fourth and final element is to hopefully get out and see as many pieces we are studying in their original in galleries as we can.  Obviously with many that will not be possible, I’d love to visit the Louvre and the Metropolitan in New York but unlikely so will have to do the best we can.  We’ve arrangements to catch the Matisse exhibition at the Tate before it closes in early Sep and will hopefully make it to the National to see what Monet’s/Da Vinci’s they have (undecided which to do next – Monet’s poppies would fit in nicely with Remembrance Day/WW1 plans but quite fancy the idea of Vitruvian Man out of Gingerbread for last session before Christmas).   Earlier in the summer I read newspaper coverage about the artist Jake Chapman claiming galleries were not the place for children – they won’t understand the ‘complexity’ of many works of art.  Well to be perfectly honest neither do I in many cases but I still like looking at them and I think it is incredibly pretentious to think you have in depth understanding of a piece to appreciate it.  The trick to me in enjoying galleries with children is not trying to do it all, go to view a handful of works and focus on them and then leave before anyone gets fractious.

Oct 2014 – Monet plan

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