Thursday, March 27, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Blogkeeping Note

I recently created a new category in my sidebar labeled "Online Finds" to share some of my bookmarks. The links are miscellaneous items that I find interesting and want to give opportunity for others to see. I'm not typing in these links myself; I pasted in a widget so that whatever I tag "linkroll" will show up in my sidebar. If anyone wants to comment on a link, feel free to do so in the comment section of any blog post. The links are usually more interesting than my own posts! :-)

Firefox Frustration

Normally Mozilla Firefox is my browser of choice for the tools that it offers, but now it has failed me. It no longer displays pictures, and will not open Gmail correctly. I do not know what happened, and I don't know how to fix it. Where is my IT guy when I need one? (I don't even know what IT stands for!)

I did search around on the Mozilla Firefox page until I found some lengthy instructions for a possible solution. I started trying to jump through the troubleshooting hoops, but did not get far. Maybe James can figure it out later, but in the meantime, I am a little cranky.

I'm using Internet Explorer right now which is not improving my mood. Only part of my blog header shows up under the blogger bar in this browser. Now I have to fiddle with my template until I hit upon the reason why. It feels a bit like walking around with one's skirt stuck in one's pantyhose. Not pretty. I don't know how many people have been viewing my blog in this embarassing condition.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do You See What He Sees?

Ice Bear

Editing to explain: Maybe it is a bit like gazing at the clouds and seeing pictures. Not everyone sees the same thing! Evan thought that the snow bank had melted into the shape of a bear, and the rest of the family saw it after he pointed it out. The snow just melted that way!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Budding Feminist?

The following is a video of Logan's friend, Olivia. Olivia's parents, Bill and Andrea, gave me permission to post this video of Olivia saying her catechism answers. It gets quite amusing when she confuses the name of the first man with the name of her favorite neighborhood worker...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Warms a Mother's Heart

Logan to me when I sat down beside him to watch him play: "Away. Walk. Walk. Stairs."

Logan, pointing to me: "H-h-h-h-h-heavy! H-h-h-h-h-heavy!"

Logan to Sophie who was lying down: "SLEEP! SLEEP!"

I've taken a cue from him, and now instead of asking him for a kiss, I command, "Kiss! Kiss!"

Wordless Wednesday


Thursday, March 06, 2008

If you give a child a box...

Aunt Beth gave the kids this big box which has turned out to be a favorite plaything. Recently the big kids made a house out of it for Logan. Sophie hosts tea parties inside with Logan as an honored guest. Note the convenient attic storage for broom and vacuum.

The older kids help Logan to color the cardboard.

Thank you big brother!

Wordless Wednesday

(To replay the slideshow, click on the x in the upper right hand corner of the annoying "Add an image" screen at the end.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Quote of the Week

Me: "Can you say, 'I love you Mama'?"

Logan: "Stop it p'ease."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Minoan Fresco Project

Last week we read together in several books about the Minoans of Ancient Crete. The kids tried their hand at painting frescoes in the style of the Minoans.

On Friday, I did a Google image search to find examples of Minoan frescoes. I copied and pasted some images into Word documents, enlarging all of them. Incidentally, during my search, I came across a fresco done by a fellow homeschooler (scroll down a little)!

The kids picked their favorite fresco example and practiced painting a similar picture with watercolors. Sophie decided to paint from her own imagination rather than basing it on an actual Minoan painting.
They painted the same scene more than once to get the hang of painting quickly so that they could later paint on wet plaster before it dried completely.

Evan helped Logan paint too!

On Saturday, we took a 3 lb. container of Plaster of Paris and ended up using the whole thing, mixing it out on the back porch to avoid the dust inside the house.

That amount of plaster filled up three shoebox lids (supplied by a grandma who keeps everything.) We oiled the lids first, then poured in the plaster.

When the surface of the plaster began to lose its shine, the kids began painting.


Matthew and Sophie used watercolors.

Evan used tempera paint.

Birds and Lilies Fresco by Evan

Blue Bird Fresco by Matthew

Pink Bird Fresco by Sophie

Map It!

In our history studies, we are finally on to Ancient Greece. I set the kids up with the artograph and some maps of Ancient Greece to enlarge and copy them onto newsprint. They traced it in pencil, and I helped them to go over it with marker. If we did not have the artograph, we would have gone over to our church building and used the overhead projector to enlarge the maps.

Normally, I would never recommend owning a glass top table. Oh the dust! We bought our dining room table cheap through the classifieds. Right now, though, the glass is serving us well as a place to display the maps. We taped them upside down to the glass, then flipped the glass over, and Voila!



Now, we read around the table and point out the geographical locations that we come across on the big maps.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday Museum Musings

We experienced a "Fine Art Friday" though I am posting about it on Monday! Our family went to a free exhibit of woodcuts, etchings and engravings by Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt and other artists. The artwork has been collected by an unpublicized individual for the purpose of teaching his children about art. He chose this year to share his artwork with the public. The Denver art museum does not contain a single Rembrandt, but this exhibit showcased sixty of his works.

As we entered the exhibit, we each picked up a magnifying lens from a basket to view the prints more closely. Some of the etchings were quite small yet intricately detailed. Of course handing children magnifying lenses led to my oft repeated refrain, "Don't bump them on the glass!"

Thinker 75.jpg An aside: In 2004, I took Evan, Matthew and Sophie to the Legion of Honor Art Museum in San Francisco. I instructed the kids before we entered the museum about "Look. Don't Touch." but one of my children started out pointing to the paintings in his enthusiasm and accidentally touching the frames. A docent, watching us like a hawk, explained to us the problem with touching even the frame. The second time my son did it, I told him that we were going to have to leave if he couldn't control himself and the docent walked over and said the same thing. The message finally sank in and no more touching occurred on that visit. We spent a long time gazing at the paintings and the docent spent a long time gazing at us! After awhile, she walked over and complimented the children on their attention to the artwork, telling me that she had never seen kids look at the paintings so long. Her words made me feel a little better about bringing the kids to an art museum!

I did not blog about this in 2004, because I still felt too embarrassed over the incident to want to dwell on it with words. :)

...and by the way, Young Boy Singing (Le Jeune Chanteur) was my favorite painting that we viewed at the Legion of Honor Art Museum.

Fast forward to this weekend's visit to the Rembrandt exhibit: Each time I heard the "click" of a magnifying glass bump against the glass of the frame, I half-expected a docent to come flying over to kick us out. The only warnings that occurred came from James and me, though. (I was very relieved that I never heard "Chink, crackle, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.")

I have long admired Albrecht Durer's skill in carving such realistic portrayals of figures and settings and it was a privilege to see his work in person. However I gained a new appreciation of Rembrandt's work through this exhibit.
It was far more impressive to see his prints in person than to look at them in a book. I marveled at his attention to detail, his masterful arrangement of figures, architecture, and landscape to highlight the drama of the subject, his portrayal of expression and emotion, and his expert contrasts between light and dark (chiaroscuro). The juxtaposition of his prints alongside the works of other artists emphasized for me why he is considered one of the greatest artists. His works had a depth and richness unmatched by others in the exhibit. As I walked from print to print, I inwardly cheered each time I came to a new Rembrandt.

One of my favorite etchings was The Flight into Egypt -- a night scene c. 1613 by Hendrik Goudt. (You can view it online here if you flip through this album by clicking in the corner.) I loved how the artist portrayed a night scene, the only light coming from the moon, the stars, a torch carried by Joseph, and a campfire, and the reflections from each.

The exhibition contained, for a few works, more than one print made from the original copperplate. It was striking to look at a print of Rembrandt's Descent from the Cross (flip through the online album, though the web doesn't come close to doing it justice), printed the year the copperplate was finished in 1633, in contrast to another printed 375 years later, showing the deterioration to the copperplate that occurred with repeated printings.

Dogs appeared numerous times throughout the works on exhibit, because the dog symbolized faithfulness. I had to laugh when I came to Rembrandt's Joseph Telling His Dreams (zoom in). Joseph's listeners look like they are listening with disbelief, or rolling their eyes, or muttering together. When I looked at the dog in the corner with my magnifying glass, I saw that it was licking its bottom in true dog-like fashion. Not even the dog could listen with respect!

Evan and Matthew were Latin sleuths as they went through the exhibit. They enjoyed looking for Latin words in the inscriptions almost as much as looking at the art itself.

As I strolled through the exhibit, I came to an etching by Jan George Van Vliet called Baptism of the Eunuch and stood looking at it, appalled at what I saw. The proportions of the horse were so distorted that they revolted at first glance. As I examined it further, I identified what bothered me about it. The ears were rounded, the whites of the eyes showed in human-fashion, the nostrils and lips protruded unnaturally, the legs were too short and stocky. I called Sophie over and asked her, "What do you think of this horse?"

She replied with what she thought was the correct response when looking at official artwork, "It is pretty."

"Really?" I queried. "Does that look like any horse that you have ever seen?"

A docent had followed Sophie over when I called her, and he asked me, "Isn't that what a horse looks like?"

I replied, "Horses don't have round ears and eyes like that. It looks like an Ape-Horse."

The docent quickly walked away, and I realized that I had probably expressed my opinion too freely and possibly crossed over into the realm of sacrilege as far as he was concerned.

But that horse was really offensive. It was like the artist had imagined some mythical African horse breed for his etching. He obviously had not studied equine anatomy!

The LDS church hosted the exhibit, and I gathered from viewing the introductory video that they considered it a worship experience, saying that the artists were inspired by the Holy Ghost in their works. I certainly praised and thanked God for the gifts that he bestowed on the artists and deeply appreciated their works, but I did not view the art as a means of worship in the way that the video described it. The artists' interpretations of biblical events did not add to my understanding of God's Word in scripture.

In this online album of the work of Hendrick Goltzius displayed in the exhibit, successive prints depict the Passion of Christ. I noticed that the face of Christ in each seemed to have a detached, pious, possibly slightly pained expression, even when He was portrayed as beaten or crucified. I'm not sure exactly what the artist was trying to communicate about Christ, but I thought he fell short in portraying the humanity of Christ and the depth of his suffering. However, no artist's interpretation can possibly fully convey the truth about Christ that is contained in the Scripture.

We spent two hours taking in this Rembrandt Exhibit and recommend it highly to any art enthusiasts!