Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A 5 year olds take on Winslow Homer Image

I want my children to know and appreciate Art History. Recently I had been thinking about Winslow Homer.  Winslow is an  American landscape painter and printmaker whose work is highly
admired and respected, especially among plein air painters today. His work is simply inspiring. So I googled Winslow Homer and found an image of interest.  I found the work "Sleigh
Ride".   One key to appreciating art is understanding composition, or how the elements of shape are arranged in the space of a picture.   The key to thinking about composition is
developing the ability to see  simplified shapes in a image or scene before you.  Elements like squares, rectangles, circles, lines, and abstract or irregular shapes can be installed into a
picture that is arranged by the artist.

As an artist you need to see these shapes, and not worry so much about what the picture is of or distracting detail found within the shape.  Details can stifle you and prevent you from
seeing the big picture. Children around 4 and 5 have a fearless ability to make bold and confident shapes. I see it all the time in my kids and other children's work.  Children can arrange
these shapes in a way that is often natural, unforced, and pleasing to the eye, even if they stray dramatically away from the exact scene before you. Every child has this ability!  As adults we often
need to work at this skill. Imagine if you stopped signing your name at 10 years old?  Your handwriting skills and personal style of signature would not evolve. Since you sign something everyday or frequently you practice and practice.  Painting and drawing is the same way.- it is a language in the visual sense and you get more confident the more you practice.

We can be reminded of the quote by Picasso, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a life time to paint like a child.”

So I was curious to see what my daughter could do with the shapes found in the "Sleigh Ride" c. Winslow Homer below:

I mentioned a  little about Home from a Wikipedia page and my 5
year old got a bit bored with the history part.  The next step was to show my daughter  the basic shapes from a quick sketch:

Another helpful way to look at the image in grayscale eliminates color but enhances the dark and light value range  Do you think this helps see the shapes?

So after getting the water colors, paper, and brushes set up, I let her have go. About 10 minutes later she let me know she was finished and asked to go upstairs.  I was surprised
with the result, and her ability to lay in and control the washes to capture this likeness.  I  think I can learn a thing or two from my 5 year old daughter in my own work.


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