Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Choosing Your Own Artists for Picture Study

Following somebody else's selections for artists for picture study fashioned after Charlotte Mason has the advantage of saving you leg work, not limiting your children to the artists you know and /or like, and of saving you the fatigue of choosing.  But sometimes we like to make our own selections for various reasons, and that's fine, too.

I liked to choose an artist, if at all possible, by first looking at the artists who worked during the time period you were studying for history. You may prefer another basis-artists from a particular country or culture, artists who used a particular style, artists whose work will be on display at a museum you will be visiting later in the year. Of course, their work should be good, something worth seeing on its own merits.  

 Once you have a list of artists to choose from, apply these principles to the artworks and narrow your selection to about six works by a single artist.  You could do 7 or 9, or you could do 3-5, but six is a good number.  You do not want six works by six different artists just because all six artists are from the country you like.  This is because the purpose of picture study, among other things, is to expose the children to several works by the same artist so they become familiar with the style of a single artist.  They will later start to notice similarities and differences with other artists- this is the beginning of later art appreciation.  Six works by six different Ukrainian or Filipino artists can be a beautiful basis for choosing the prints to hang on your living room wall, but it's not a suitable collection for picture study.

In selecting our pictures, we should keep these things in mind (these are either direct quotes or paraphrases of Charlotte Mason's works):

1. The pictures should have a refining, elevating influence.

2. They should express great ideas, and this is more important than the technique.

3. The great ideas our art prints express might include "the great human relationships, relationships of love and service, of authority and obedience, of reverence and pity and neighbourly kindness; relationships to kin and friend and neighbour, to 'cause' and country and kind, to the past and the present."

4. Our art prints ought to put "our children in touch with the great thoughts by which the world has been educated in the past, and to keep . . . them in the right attitude towards the great ideas of the present" -- And bring us into the "world of beauty created for us by those whose Beauty Sense enables them not only to see and take joy in all the Beauty there is, but whose souls become so filled with the Beauty they gather through eye and ear that they produce for us new forms of Beauty."

Do our choices expose the children to those works of art which seek to "interpret to us some of the meanings of life?"
" . . . Fra Angelico will tell us of the beauty of holiness, that Giotto will confide his interpretation of the meaning of life, that Millet will tell us of the simplicity and dignity that belong to labour on the soil, that Rembrandt will show us the sweetness of humanity in many a commonplace countenance.
I can suggest a couple Japanese artists you might start with- just look for them at your library, and perhaps the library will have something else in the same area:
Amazon has a History of Far Eastern Art by Sherman Lee that looks interesting. So does another History of Asian Art book by Dorinda Neave and Lara C.W. Blanchard

The artist -- " Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him, Above and through his art ," -- has indispensable lessons to give us . . . the outward and visible sign is of less moment than the inward and spiritual grace." Technique, no matter how brilliant, is not a substitute for expression of beauty, or one of those 'meanings of life' interpretations.

Let us choose pictures using this as a guideline: "Nothing can be a work of art which is not useful, that is to say, which does not minister to the body when well under the command of the mind, or which does not amuse, soothe, or elevate the mind in a healthy state." -- CM quoting William Morris

The works of art we choose should represent 'master ideas,' which the painter "works out, not in a single piece, but here a little and there a little, in a series of studies." The artist is "a teacher, who is to have a refining, elevating effect upon our coarser nature."

Our prints can also be chosen to help the children develop a love for the commonplace beauty of every day things -- "For it is true as Browning told us, -- For, don't you mark, we're made so that we love First when we see them painted, things we have passed Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see . . . . we learn to see things when we see them painted."

Our art prints should help our children develop an affinity for, an attraction to, the beautiful, the lovely, the pure, the refining -- because "education is concerned to teach him what pictures to delight in."

Use these principles to choose your other artists, always keeping in mind you want to have your children use picture study time to look at several works by the same artist over a period of several weeks. 

Additional information, references, and suggestions:

Most of the time people interested in pursuing their own artists for picture study are looking for diversity, multiculturalism, or representation since their family is multicultural.

I'm sure you will not be surprised to know that I have some suggestions.  However, while I have lived in two different Asian countries for a total of seven years, I have worked with a number of Asians from a third country for two years, and have a deep and crazy love for Asian culture and people, it's really not that easy for westerners with more academic interest than an actual real, long time, deep connection with a culture to choose the best it has to offer. Look for people steeped in the culture you are interested in for guidance.  My suggestions are just a starting place.

Do you have an art museum nearby? Spend a day visiting their African and Eastern exhibits,taking notes, absorbing styles and colours, and then look in the museum gift shop to see what they have by way of post cards and reference books you could use. If possible, you might ask if you can meet with the curator and ask for recommendations. 

Artists to consider: Hokusai  (note: he did magnificent nature paintings, and also erotic art, so you might not want to look him up, or any artist, with the kids over your shoulder)Hiroshige

Remember what I said about needing a cultural connection with the culture for best results? I learned about Hokusai when I was in my twenties and we lived in Japan.  I could have and should have learned about him here in the U.S., because he is not obscure and unknown in the west , but if I was ever exposed to his works before we lived in Japan, and it's almost impossible that I wouldn't have,  I simply did not notice.  Incidentally, if you are using AO and reading George Washington's World, he is mentioned there.

History of Asian Art looks interesting.

Van Loon's The Arts has some eastern artists and information on architecture in eastern countries (no modern examples, of course, since it's an older book)

The Smithsonian says their Sackler gallery is the largest collection of Asian art in the U.S.

China: A History in Art by Bradley Smith and Wan-go Weng.

The Image of the Black in African and Asian Art (it's expensive, but maybe your library would carry it)

YOu can also put any artist you choose (including artists from AO's picture study line-up) into the search bar here: to see if they have any works depicting non-Caucasians.

Many youngsters might like Ezra Tucker's work, especially the historical paintings of buffalo soldiers:

I am fond of Young Man with a Bow by Hyacinthe Rigaud: also like the modern works of Kadir Nelson. 
You can see his work here:
We can't use them in AO's picture study because they are not public domain, but you could use them using the posted screen pictures.

I also like the work of the Dillons (he's from Trinidad)- mostly book illustrators but I really love their illustrations. 
They have a very charming interview here:
Some examples of their work here:

Fernando Amorsolo is a Filipino artist whose work I admire (what I like and know is not THE standard, but I can't share what I don't know that's why I encourage people to ask around and visit museums and talk to curators and see what your libraries have)

 Miguel Pou Becerra is a Puerto Rican artist a Puerto Rican AO mom shared on our fb group.

Henry Ossawa Tanner is an AFrican American artist worth considering.

Kahinde Wiley painted former President Obama's picture and Amy Sharrald painted the first Lady's. Both are contemporary black artists, so we can't use them for official picture study as the works are not public domain.  Kahinde is known for painting sperm into his works, so be forewarned. 

You might consider textile arts, such as the Story Cloths of the Hmong refugees.  Dia's Story Cloth is a picture book introduction.

I have chosen and shared several South American painters from the 17th century here.

For more on Charlotte Mason's philosophy when it comes to picture study and art, you should go to the source.  In other words,  please see Charlotte Mason's own books, in particular these sections:

Vol 1 pg 308-311
Vol 2, page 262
Vol 3 pg 77page 209page 239page 353ff
Vol. 4, pages 2-3, page 42page 4448-49
Vol 5 pg 231-236
Vol. 5 p 312-315
Vol. 6, pages 213-217
Vol. 6, page 275
Vol. 6 328-329
Picture Talk, Parents Review, Vol 17, 1906
Picture Talk, Parents Review, Vol. 12, 1901
Impressions of Conference Work with Class II (scroll down for two paragraphs about a specific picture talk given) A similar explanation and example is offered here.
Art and Literature in the Parents' Union School (the art/picture study section is midway down the page

For more helps, see:

 Remember, too, that you don't have to squeeze in everything that is worthwhile in the 12 years of formal schooling most of us have.  By introducing your children to these topics graciously, slowly, joyfully, giving them time to savour and contemplate, you are also opening the door to the world of art to them.   They will go on later and find other artists you never heard of that they enjoy. One of the richest blessings I have received as a retired homeschool mom is when my teens and adult children introduce me to an artist or composer they have discovered.  Don't panic about not being able to fit in every artist worth learning about.  Education is for life.


$5.00- Education for All, vol 2- the Imagination (and more) issue!- transcript of the imagination talk from the AO Camp meeting, with additional material I had to cut to save time.  
 $5.00- Education for All, a new CM journal,   Feed Your Mind!  This issue contains several articles on handicrafts, outdoor play, nature study and science. See sidebar for purchasing options if you are in the Philippines.

 $3.00 Five Little Peppers and How They Grew Copywork (grades 2/3, carefully selected with an eye toward finely crafted sentences, lovely bits of writing pleasant to picture in the mind's eye, and practice in copying some of the mechanics of grammar and punctuation typically covered in these years.

  $3.00 Aesop's Fables Copywork for Year One!  Carefully selected with an eye toward well written sentences, memorable scenes, and some practice copying sentences that model the basics of capitalization and punctuation.   Suitable for use with children who have already mastered the strokes and letters for basic penmanship.

Picture Study!  Miguel Cabrera's beautiful, diverse families, painted in 18th century Mexico this package includes 9 downloadable prints along with directions for picture study and background information on the artist and his work. $5.00

Common Kitchen:  What's for lunch?  Isn't that a common problem in homeschooling families?  What to fix, what is quick, what is frugal, what is nourishing?  How can I accomplish all those things at once?  We homeschooled 7 children, and I was a homeschooling mom for 29 years on a single income.  I collected these recipes and snack ideas from all over the world.  These are real foods I used to feed my family, my godsons, and sometimes my grandkids.  Includes some cooking tips and suggestions for sides, and for a variety of substitutions.  I think every family will find something they can use here. $5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment