Classically Catholic Co-op Art

Fr. Pat asked the homeschoolers in our parish if they wished to meet regularly on our parish campus. How cool is that? He even volunteered to stop by once a month for catechesis of our youth. This is the same priest that led our parish in a Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet Holy Hour on the day of the Oklahoma Black Mass. I love a parish priest that leads, literally, on his knees. God is good, all the time.

We now have a group of 9+ families that meet every Wednesday for a CCM Gamma Year Co-op. So I have apparently gotten over the CCM name and educational ideas being stolen from various sources (or maybe not since I just mentioned it), and got on board with the young moms who love having the memory work laid out in a one stop shopping fashion. 

We have an amazing group of moms teaching the kids this year. Milo is teaching Art and I am wishing I could be in her class. The older group (4th grade +) are learning about perspective. 

While the younger kids are experimenting with paint while listening to music. Paint how the music moves you..

I don't truly understand why my boys will paint or sketch without a second thought when Milo is working with them, and will staunchly refuse to do anything artistic at home when the core subjects are finished. She must simply be MORE FUN. Or more knowledgeable, or more un MOM like. In any case, she gets them to go places I cannot. And they like it. GO co-op!

Gio- Art

This year's Senior Resident has a few projects that have overtaken his room and his life. It began as an attempt to design Spartan Armor out of EVA foam, according to the process described by Andrew Cook, aka DaFrontline Trooper. Then the Facebook pics received a landslide of positive reviews. After being reposted on a geeky popular "How To" FB page, he was commissioned to design Halo-style Gear for a CosPlay Fan in Australia. For this child of mine, it is a dream job. Much more engaging than his job at our local grocery store where he clocks in a few days each week, or than his job bussing tables 3 nights a week at a seafood restaurant. (This guy wants a car- --a NICE car.) 

In his *free* time, he attends pro-life workshops and related events as a Student Ambassador For Life. Then there is his school work. Yes, indeed, he is in his last year of studies at home. At the moment he is tackling American Government, American History, and Computer Science. Before his head hits the pillow each night, he studies AP Physics and Calculus in preparation for LSU's Spring Invitational testing program.  I think the schedule is outrageous, but since he handles it beautifully, there is no need to hold him back.
Can you tell he loves his craft? 
From this....

To this, in just a few weeks...
He knocked out this second project in about half the time.
Complete with LEDs for nighttime effects....
Ready to be shipped! Now what is that going to cost?
 Good thing the Australian is covering shipping and handling charges.
A second costume order is on queue for next month.
I am thinking of adding another subject to his lesson plan: 
Business Law. 
 I know, I can be a real kill joy sometimes; but with his entrepreneurial spirit,
it will definitely be an asset. If there is something important to be done, enlist a busy person to do it. Right?

College Projects

I love this illustration of Shel Silverstein's poem, Masks. My daughter turned it in for a graphic novel course she was taking at the university. Apparently, her professor loved it as well.

Focus on Art
Being a pragmatist has its disadvantages. It usually means that art, music, and hands on projects can fall by the wayside when there is housework to do and core subjects to complete. Luckily, I am also driven by principles, and the whole Hobby Lobby  issue has given us cause to support this christian business as much as possible. I cannot say that has been a major sacrifice. I now have an excuse to focus on fine arts more than usual. To solidify the stance that art and music should not be "side order subjects" that can sit on the back burner until the "real work" has been completed, we are heeding Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to:
"cultural enrichment” (which can) also be “a moment of grace, an encouragement to strengthen our relationship and our dialogue with the Lord........”It is “where we can to stop and contemplate, in the transition from simple external reality to a deeper reality, the ray of beauty that strikes us, that almost wounds us in our inner selves and invites us to rise towards God.” (Catholic News Agency, Aug/2011)
So last year we dove into Fine Arts with a passion.  This year Drama was added to our list of arts to contemplate.  Music is still a weak spot in our curriculum, but it was nice to hear the teens playing Christmas hymns and some contemporary favorites on the piano during the Christmas break.

Here is our little collection of art projects which line the walls of Regina Coeli Academy (our private homeschool). Dear Daughter made a sculpture of Gandalf and Bilbo. Unfortunately, Bilbo took a nasty fall behind the bookcase.
 Here is a fairy that she painted before Christmas,

 And another that she painted after Christmas.
Definite improvement.
My favorite is a piece that she sketched and painted while we were visiting the Louisiana Art and Science Museum a while ago.
Another Daughter is into abstract art.

She is constantly doodling on her arms during class, and most of her designs look something like this:
Thankfully her tattoos are washable. 

But I am worried she may suffer from some sort of toxic syndrome from sharpie ink absorbed through the skin. She tried using Persian Henna for her temporary tattoos, but it caused her skin to burn in the sun. 

Dear Son spent Advent in his room, intent on creating gifts for the entire family.
These are actually from last Christmas. He has the comic strip technique down, 
much to the amazement of his brothers and nephews.
 But it works for me, too. Loved having this next to the nativity in my front yard.

 This 3-D Fleur de Lis was for his Grandmother this year.
 And our reptile loving Uncle Nick was the recipient of Prisma Color turtles.
 The boys nearly jumped out of their skins when they received the painted oak replicas of Sting and Orcrist, the goblin cleaver, this year.  No real injuries yet, but I am trying to convince them to hang the swords on the wall.
 Believe it or not, this was for his sister. She was quite pleased. 
I personally would not want to wake up to this image every morning.
Another sister received this painting for her college apartment.
I would say the one year we invested in art lessons was a great bargain for him. He will continue working with an instructor until graduation. There are some things I am not able to teach him (just like Calculus).   But the economy is tight, and art lessons/supplies can be very expensive.
So the rest of us will have to manage with art books to learn basic techniques in DYI fashion.   
Starting off with some simple construction lines and working up to a little more detail....
Here are some early sketches from photographs.
 At least they are beginning to look human after a few tries. 
Hopefully I will learn to really capture the person later.
Adding a little color here and there....
I am also working on a few still life pics from a great step by step book....
This one is still in progress. Layers and layers of paint and linseed oil. It takes so much time! And there are so many other things I should be doing, like housework.  But I can deal with avoiding the chores on a Sunday, especially if I can't see the mess. Good thing that it is football season and I can hide away in the classroom for a couple of hours during a game. Why should the kids have all the fun? 
I am trying my hand at an oil portrait. 
Hopefully the "realistic look" will come sooner rather than later. I am really quite impatient and would love to skip the still lifes to paint the Madonna and Child in oil. Right now I have 2 more in progress. One day it will come together and actually honor Our Lord and His Mother.  For now I trust they know it is the thought that counts.  Besides, I am also learning Perseverance!

For more of our classroom art projects throughout the year, see these posts. And when you are tempted to skip out on the "superfluous" subjects in favor of a stack of worksheets, remember the Holy Father's advice.....
When people stand before a sculpture or painting, read a few verses poetry or even listen to a song, everyone has “experienced deep within us an intimate emotion, a sense of joy.” This sensation, he said, is an interior recognition that says that was is being seen or heard is “not only mere matter” but “something bigger, something that speaks, capable of touching the heart, of communicating a message; of elevating the soul,” and leading people, ultimately, to God." (Catholic News Agency, Aug/2011)

Projects for Co-op

The high school students were encouraged to create visual aids to supplement oral reports for history class. So far we have had a lego movie representing the Magi journeying to adore the Christ Child, a poster board presentation tracing lineage of one student back to King Alfred the Great, a power point presentation on St. Helena, and a one act play depicting Mary Magdalene.  Here is Giordan's illustration of the Zealots in 66 AD (digitally enhanced drawings).  Of course, the reports are more detailed than the visual projects, but the students have been putting a great deal of effort into every aspect of each assignment. I have been very pleased with the variety and quality of their work.

Previous History projects can be found HERE.


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