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We live in a world where the transient and the odd are celebrated.  If your family is going to learn to appreciate the truly great things around us, purposefully seeking it out is recommended.  It can give them something to joy in for the rest of their life!

Learning about the visual arts is not as difficult as it might seem.  You can put together a great program with a little planning.

Studying the work of famous artists can be done in a number of ways.  One that many have found successful is as follows:

1. Choose one artist for the month.

2. Choose four works from that artist to study.

3. Each week of study, the following approach for each piece can be fun:

Day 1– Study the painting closely for ten minutes.  Put the painting away and write everything you remember about the painting.  Color, mood, or contrast can be as important as the images in the picture itself.  Younger children should tell you what they remember and you write it down.  Older children should be able to write their own narration.

Day 2– Re-examine the same painting.  Have each child talk or write about the feelings evoked by the painting.

Day 3– Using the same painting, write a story using the painting as inspiration.

Day 4- Using paint, paper, clay, crayon, chalk, or whichever medium you choose, recreate the painting.

To find prints, look for calendars of famous artists or second-hand books for sale. The internet has many wonderful sites and Dover Publishing has post cards and other resources for art study.

Try to create something yourself.  Take classes if you want, or just buy supplies and have fun.  As you become more proficient, consider buying better supplies and experience what you can do with higher quality materials.

If you want some technical help but not necessarily lessons, look for art instruction books.  Ed Emberly has a series that is simple and fun for children and definitely outside the box.  DK Publishing has a number of art instruction books that are more technical and great for older learners.  The books Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain or Drawing with Children are highly recommended.

Visit local museums or other venues that display the work of local artists.  Visit exhibits featuring different media.  Which do you prefer?  What piece is the favorite one for each member of the family?  We live in a world filled with beauty.  Help each other see what you see.

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