Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Degas Extension Activities

Degas is an artist that can easily capture your imagination. If your kids are as fascinated as I am, follow their interest by trying a few of these activities.

Create:
Degas was well known for his creative use of his art supplies. To create an interesting contrast in texture he would crush his pastels, steam them, and then apply them like paint. To try this for yourself, watch this demonstration and then break out your supplies to try it yourself!

Simple step-by-step instructions for drawing your own dancer are available at Ms.Julie'sArtSchool. The images are fairly light, so you may need to zoom-in to view them well.

Go:
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has FREE admission this Friday. They host a large collection of Degas' works, including his bronze sculpture of the Little 14 year old Dancer. *Parents, please be aware that many of Degas' images include the female form and there is currently an exhibition at MFA which intentionally focuses this particular point in the evolution of his work. To pre-view the collection before your visit, go to MFA.org

Watch:
Take a peek into Degas' personal sketchbook at PBS.org.

Read:
Degas and the Dance is a great book for children available through the Manchester Library System.

Consider:
Degas' is well known for being dissatisfied with his work. This is a great opportunity to discuss this quality in your family.

Perfectionism is a struggle for many children, especially as they compare their projects to the work of master artists. If we are being quite honest, many parents will admit to struggling with perfectionism too. As we approach the holidays it is easy to see this in our own lives as we reach crisis mode immediately before company arrives for the holiday, attempting to create a perfectly clean house in which to serve the perfect meal to a family who we expect to behave with perfect manners. (Certainly not an achievable reality in my home)

Striving to become better and achieve excellence is very different from perfectionism. Try taking this helpful self-test with your older children and discuss the Bible references on the last two pages as a family. Perfectionism is not a good thing, but working hard and striving to be better is a great goal. Knowing the difference is very important.