I am absolutely fascinated by the world of art, but I must admit that I am not extremely well versed in it. However, I do enjoy looking at art, reading about art and on occasion touching art. One of my hopes for Emmy is that she have an appreciation for art. We begin this appreciation by going out into nature. I use every opportunity I can to help her to notice the beauty in the world around her - the way a water droplet sits on the edge of a flower petal, the distinctive orange and black markings on a Monarch butterfly, the subtle shades of blue on the eggs nestled in a nest outside the window, etc. In addition to art in nature, this book loving mama is always on the lookout for reading material that will help both of us learn more. To enter the world of the masterpieces, I introduced Emmy to the Touch the Art series by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo. There are four books in the series (Make Van Gogh's Bed, Brush Mona Lisa's Hair, Feed Matisse's Fish, Pop Warhol's Top *Updated Feb. 2010 - Two new books have been added to the series: Tickle Tut's Toes and Catch Picasso's Rooster) highlighting the works of many well known artists. The first in the series, Make Van Gogh's Bed, is chosen most often in our house due to the inclusion of our favorite paintings by Van Gogh and Monet. Each book in the series gives the reader an opportunity to connect with each piece of art by including an interactive component such as glittery stars in Van Gogh's painting The Starry Night and soft water lilies in Monet's The Water-Lily Pond: Green Harmony. Maybe Emmy doesn't know that she is looking at the masterpieces of the art world, but she does know that she is looking at beautiful paintings. I am certain that one day she will see each of these pieces in person at the museums where they are being held and hopefully I will be right by her side!
In addition to books, Emmy has also been exposed to art through a wonderful video series that uses art to teach children about the world. Little Laureate's For The Love of Art is a wonderful look into the world of art. Emmy loves to watch as art comes alive in time to a fully-orchestrated score. With stunning visual effects, live footage and traditional animation, we watch as goldfish morph into a Matisse, and young artist's paintings become masterworks.
Another great resource for exposing young children to art is Aline Wolf's series Child-Size Materpieces. There are five books in the series each filled with postcards of famous artwork that a child can touch and manipulate as he matches, pairs, sorts and sequences. In addition to the postcard books, there is a parent/teacher resource book that is a how to guide for making the best use of the postcards. Emmy likes to look at and talk about the postcards, but isn't too much into the matching and sorting yet. In Emmy's bedroom, we have an inexpensive picture frame. Each week we fill it with a different postcard. Focusing on just one piece of artwork at a time seems to be the best for Emmy. This gives us a chance to really enjoy each piece of art and being in charge of choosing the postcard that goes into the frame gives her the biggest delight.
Lastly a shout out to MaryAnn Kohl who continues to create wonderful resource books for parents and teachers brimming with fabulous art ideas. Discovering Great Artists is full of art projects for kids teaching the styles, works, and techniques of the great masters—Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and more.
At this time, Emmy's artwork is filled with carefully constructed lines and circles which to me beats any piece of modern art out there! All this art talk has me planning a trip to our local art museum very soon!