Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Images of Delight

Charlotte Mason visualized the art training of young children along two lines: the ability to express himself and the ability to appreciate. "His appreciation should be well in advance of his power to express what he sees or imagines" (page 307).  Through picture study, Pamela learns to appreciate the work of master artists by observing their masterpieces carefully and describing each work in her own words. We focus on one artist at a time, studying their pictures and reading of their lives when we can find a living book. Pamela is already making connections of her own about art, that the style of Millet and Monet look similar and that painting really became alive with da Vinci as the Middle Ages waned.

Pamela is also learning to express herself through art, and watercolor classes with a wonderful teacher are helping Pamela develop a lovely sense of style and color. On Sunday, the local artisans held an open house and reception to meet all of the artists and their students. They were kind enough to display the artwork of students to encourage people interested, but perhaps hesitant about taking classes. As she isn't quite the conversationalist, we popped in for about 45 minutes. We checked out all the artwork, took pictures of her with her own display, and greeted some of the artists. Then, she sat in her favorite spot (the yellow couch) where she takes little breaks during class.

I overheard one artist describe the most important aspect of drawing: the ability to see, truly see an object, which is exactly what we try to do in a Mason philosophy of education:
This is what we wish to do for children in teaching them to draw––to cause the eye to rest, not unconsciously, but consciously, on some object of beauty which will leave in their minds an image of delight for all their lives to come. Children of six and seven draw budding twigs of oak and ash, beech and larch, with such tender fidelity to colour, tone, and gesture, that the crude little drawings are in themselves things of beauty. (Page 313)
Our friends are very kind and encouraging about the scans of Pamela's watercolors that I post on Facebook. The other artists were sweet to Pamela too, even though she didn't quite know how to work a crowd. After we made an early exit as planned, a potter from Edisto toured the gallery. She loved Pamela's framed turtle enough to ask about buying. Wow! A real person who is not a friend thought that highly of her painting.

These classes have been indispensable. Pamela and I have learned so much about watercolor, drawing, and technical elements of art. She started in the spring of 2010 and took a year hiatus when her teacher gave birth to her third child. She jumped right back into classes as soon as they started up again. Here are two monochromatic landscapes; she painted the before in 2010 and the after in 2011. These two watercolors show clearly how much more refined Pamela has become in her painting and her style.

Before (Spring 2010)


After (Fall 2011)


Pamela at Her Display




The Watercolors of Classmates


Watercolor Pieces in Chronological Order










Studies - Sometimes, before starting a project, Pamela's teacher will have the class do a study that improves their ability to see and express what they see. At the beginning of the year, they tried out different kinds of brush strokes. The color value strips prepared Pamela to do the shading and shadows of the pink cake. The warm/cool colors were for the apple: the warm colors for the fruit and the cool colors for shading and shadows. The fronds taught us all lessons on what not to do for the palmetto tree. The bold green with salt sprinkles helped her see the effects of salt for the monochromatic landscape. The color star showed complementary colors for her pumpkin.


This is the background of the palmetto tree. The cloud studies she did in the first term of the school year have paid off. Pamela painted this background confidently and quickly.

2 comments:

Stranded said...

so amazing to see the fruits of hard work :)

Her display looks great.

Steph said...

Her watercolor painting are lovely -- she seems to have an amazing eye for color.