Note: The pictures on the blog correspond with MaryAnn's talk about art. http://wp.me/pUBXw-3B5
Scroll down to MaryAnn's name. If you have trouble with the file loading, MaryAnn had the best luck with Firefox browser.
You can ALSO participate in the free book giveaway on the blog who is posting this recording.
Hello and Happy New Year!
January 2013 ArtsyKidsNEWS
SNOWMEN! SNOWMEN! SNOWMEN!
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by MaryAnn Kohl
When I was a very little girl, my dad brought me a new book every week from the bookstore where he worked. Most of them were Little Golden Books, and I still own every single one. Those books brought magic into my life and lovely daddy-daughter time to me as an imaginative little girl. I treasure both the books and my time with my dad who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 50.
One of the ways I used to like to play with my books was to set up my toys in scenes and arrangements based on favorite stories, like playing dolls, but more. I was building the scenes from my books, like setting the stage for a great play or story. I would move the characters around and make them talk, reliving the book and adding my own twists to the story.
When I was satisfied with playing, I would bring out my Brownie camera (this was film, not digital, everyone! It was in the 1950s!) and take a picture of the scene. The pictures took about a week or more to develop and be returned to me. The waiting wasn’t so hard, as there was plenty to do to keep busy during the interim.
When the pictures arrived, I selected which scenes would go into my scrapbook, really just a notebook with photos taped in, and tape them in. Though sadly I don’t have any of those pictures today, I do have the memory of my play time with my books as the inspiration and my dad smiling over me and asking me to tell him about the photographs in my notebook. Retelling the stories was a good part of the enjoyment.
So I’d like you to try this, your kids will love it! I call it Portraiture, an idea from the book, Storybook Art, authors MaryAnn Kohl and Jean Potter, and also in a different way from Great American Artists for Kids by MaryAnn Kohl and Kim Solga.
Some kids like to actually dress-up in costumes and put together some background or props to re-enact a favorite book or one of their make-believe times. Do the same: Pose, take a picture, print it out, save it in a notebook.
These pictures show scenes as well as children dressing up and posing:
The squirrel is reading the baby frogs a bedtime story. The two children who posed the scene gave a short dictation of what was happening to the squirrel and frogs.
Jake and Sydney posed themselves in costume with props to show how difficult it is to have a cup of tea when the toys are not behaving.
Foil figures squeezed from aluminum foil can make fun characters to pose in a story. This foil man has found himself a marker and is setting out to draw his own personal story on white paper.
This post was contributed by MaryAnn Kohl (pictured on the left at about the age of Brownie cameras in the 1950s). MaryAnn is the renowned author of over 20 books about art for children. Her books are published both by Gryphon House and by her own company, Bright Ring Publishing. MaryAnn enjoys speaking internationally and working with groups of children all over the US. Articles by MaryAnn can be found at the Barnes & Noble Parents’ Expert Circle as well as her own blog. MaryAnn lives in Bellingham, Washington.
Ansel Adams was a photographer most famous for his magnificent California nature pictures. However, during World War II, Adams surprised the art world when he traveled to the Japanese concentration camp in Manzanar, California. Here he photographed many of the American families imprisoned there, documenting the hardships and positive spirit of these brave Americans. I believe the pictures from Manzanar are among Adams' best work.
Adams' Manzanar photographs can inspire children to see how powerful photography can be.
How can children be inspired by Adams portraits?
One idea is to encourage children to express themselves through portrait photography. In the page below, second grade children chose, completely on their own, how they wished to be photographed: how to pose themselves, what props if any they might like to include, and also titled their portraits -- all as a way of expressing themselves and their current interests or emotions.
The most successful part of this project was seeing inside children in a different way than I usually saw them. I learned much about children who did not necessarily wish to express themselves through words. I was surprised on many levels -- surprised, delighted, and moved.
For this project, I handled the digital camera and took the pictures, though children could also take on this part of the projects. Children came into the photo area alone and assumed their pose, having previously thought it over (and some practiced). I snapped the picture, and later each child was able to view the picture on the computer where they chose a title and talked a little about it if they chose.
I recommend you explore portrait photography with your kids, inspired by Ansel Adams. There's more to the photo than meets the eye.
More information about Ansel Adams. Wonderful display of his nature photos.
Here's a wonderful art project
from Play Create Explore!
Melting crayons on a warming tray
is one of my favorite art activities,
but not everyone has a warming tray,
and this finally solves the
problem! Great idea!!
You know that soft play clay called Plasticine or Modeling Clay? It never hardens, comes in pretty colors? Try this instead of modeling the clay. Take small pinches and smoosh them on paper like the little kids in the pictures. You use your pointer or thumb to smear the clay in designs, thin smears and smooshes. Toddlers and young kids like to further press little things into the smooshed clay, like buttons or sequins. This project is my personal current favorite, and kids from age 1-16 have agreed with me! Start Smooshing!
PS This activity is found in Great American Artists for Kids and is an enjoyable sculpture activity based on Alexander Calder's famous stabiles (which are "standing mobiles").
Maya is so refreshing!
To quote Maya: "You draw from your heart and let it come out on the canvas..."
This is Maya's first time drawing and painting on canvas.
She is delightful. I hope you enjoy this video (9.2 minutes).
This is an easy way for kids to try art in the style of Mondrian. I like using colored masking tape to make lines, but this is a good way if you only have crayons and paper handy.
Read this interview with MaryAnn about summer fun!