Friday, November 13, 2009

Window Art

The sun was miraculously shining through the windows today, so I thought it would be a good time to try one of the projects in our new book, Great American Artists for Kids by MaryAnn Kohl and Kim Solga. I had the supplies for a project imitating Frank Lloyd Wright's windows. The kids learned that he was a famous architect and artist, and that he designed a play house for the children of one of his clients. The windows in this play house are considered some of his best work. The book suggested taping contact paper to the windows and adhering tissue paper circles and squares to it in the manner of the playhouse windows.

Both of my children really enjoyed this activity, and spent much time working on their art pieces. Gabriel admired the original Wright windows, and was careful to imitate the style. Annika took a more free-form approach. Gabriel was able to cut out his shapes by himself, and I let him use a Sharpie marker (!!) to draw the black lines. Annika needed help cutting shapes, which I was happy to do, and tried to keep up with her speed of work. I was annoyed that I didn't have as much tissue paper as I thought I did, but the kids didn't mind the limited palette. (Unfortunately, they cut shapes out of the middle of almost every piece, so now I need more tissue for wrapping gifts. And I never knew just how difficult it is to cut tissue paper cleanly.) I still need to put the outer layer of contact paper on, and make a black frame for them, but here are the products so far:

Annika's piece, untitled

Gabriel's piece, titled "Uga," signed by the artist. He even tried to write the title backwards so it could be read from the outside of the window. He was thoughtful enough to put a price on it, $1,000,000. I think it's priceless!

One of the things that struck me was the children's mood - they were on edge and cranky, bickering with each other before we started. But while they were working, there were definite calm and peaceful, thoughtful and intentional feelings in the room. Gabriel remarked toward the end of our session, "I love my art!" Those good feelings lasted for a few hours before the bickering started again. It reiterated to me the importance we should place on art in our lives.

I highly recommend this activity, and we look forward to trying more from the book. Pop on over to The Artful Parent to read a wonderful interview with MaryAnn Kohl about her book and her life work.

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