Fine Arts Archives - Page 3 of 12 - Eva Varga


July 15, 2016

Geneva will be starting high school this fall and art and the study of art history has always been a passion for her. One of the ways we help her to increase her skills is to take part in art classes with local artists as well as online courses. Perhaps the best things about an online course is that they are less expensive. We also love the convenience.

To calculate high school credit, students are required to log 120-180 hours of experience in one subject. For art credit options may include field trips, research and writing assignments, and direct instruction either in person or via an online course. A combination of these strategies all work together to help her to meet her academic art goals.

I am so excited for Alisha’s new mixed media online art workshop available at Flourish – the first in an art history series focusing on master artists like Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe. Mixing with the Masters is a course designed to allow students to do art with the masters and learn art history in an online format. I know this course will be a fun and fascinating look into art history.   Art History with Alisha

 

Disclosure: We were given free access to “Mixing with the Masters”  in exchange for our honest insights. This post contains affiliate links.

Art History with the Masters

Art appreciation and learning from art masters is an excellent way to introduce children and teens to various forms of art and the people behind them. Here are a couple of print resources we have used to teach about art masters in our homeschool:

Art That Changed the World 

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work

Art museums, galleries, and public installation art also provide opportunities for students to learn from the masters. Small museums sometimes feature traveling exhibits and one such occasion enabled us to see works by MC Escher.

Our travels have permitted us to see original works by Gustav Vigeland and Edvard Munch in Oslo. We have also seen works by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky, and Alexander Calder at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice.

Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop, Volume OneArt History Online Course

The six week Mixing with the Masters volume 1 art history course begins in August and will integrate a variety of art techniques including:

  • Sketching & charcoal drawing
  • Acrylic painting techniques, such as:
    • Fresco
    • Chiaroscuro
    • Impasto
    • Alla Prima
    • Gradient
  • Watercolor painting
  • Pastel painting
  • Wax resist
  • Collage art
  • And MORE!

Each unique art piece will reflect the artist’s original style and intent, but we will playfully reconstruct it in our own whimsical way.

Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop, Volume One
Each Mixing with the Masters volume will study 6 different master artists (released over a 6-week period). Volume One includes:

  • Da Vinci ~ High Renaissance
  • Rembrandt ~ Baroque 
  • Monet ~ Impressionism
  • Van Gogh ~ Post-Impressionism
  • Picasso ~ Cubism
  • O’Keeffe ~ American Modernism

Each week beginning August 1st, the instructor will email a link to a private eCourse with tutorials for the lesson. The best part is that we can work at our own pace. We will receive lifetime access to this course so there is no pressure to get through the material. We can take our time and review the lesson tutorials as often as we like.

We are really excited for this art history mixed media course. Having taken previous mixed media classes with Alisha, I know she will inspire my daughter and help to cultivate her Passion for art even more.

We know it will be the perfect way to begin the new school year. If you would like to join us, register today! Classes begin Monday, August 1st!

Early Registration price = $48 (through July 31st)
Regular price
 = $60 (beginning August 1st)

For more information or to register, visit Mixing with the Masters volume 1 today.



July 3, 2016

Rube Goldberg was a famous cartoonist who took simple and compound machines which are meant to make tasks easier, and made them overly complex. His cartoons depicted complex machines that worked in an indirect and convoluted way, such as the “Self-Operating Napkin”.

Art and Science of Rube Goldberg @EvaVarga.net
As you raise spoon of soup (A) to your mouth it pulls string (B), thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I) which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off sky-rocket (K), which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin.

Rube Goldberg Physics

When Goldberg showed his “Self-Operating Napkin” machine to his friend, his friend said it would not work. Using what you know about mechanical advantage and work, prove to Goldberg’s friend that the invention will actually work.

Work (in Joules, J) = Force (Newtons, J) x Distance (m)

Mechanical Advantage of a Lever = Distance from fulcrum to the applied force / Distance from fulcrum to weight lifted

You raise your spoon of soup 0.15 meters with 2 Newtons of force. How much work did you do?

The spoon pulls a string as you move it. How much work is transferred?

The string jerks the ladle, which is a lever. The string is attached 10 cm from the fulcrum and the force is applied 0.5 m from the fulcrum. What is the mechanical advantage?

The spoon throws a cracker past a parrot. The parrot jumps after the cracker, applying force to the perch he is sitting on. The perch spins around throwing the seeds into a pail. The perch is another lever. It has a mechanical advantage of 2. If it would take 0.5 J of work to move the seeds 0.1m without the lever, how much force will be needed with the lever?

The extra weight in the pail pulls a cord, which goes around a pulley and opens and lights an automatic cigar lighter. If the pail can apply 3 N of force to the cord, and the pulley system has a mechanical advantage of 2, how much total force can be applied to the match?

The match sets off the rocket, which causes a sickle to cut the string, allowing a pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin. If 3 N of force is needed to strike the match, will the system work?

Discover the amazing resources and contests at Rube Goldberg.

Biography

The Art and Science of Rube Goldberg @EvaVarga.netReuben Lucius “Rube” Goldberg was born on July 4, 1883, in San Francisco, California. He loved to draw and received some basic art instruction when he worked with a sign painter as a young teen. Rather than pursue a career in art, though, he followed his father’s advice and attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his degree in engineering.

Mapping out sewer pipes and water mains in San Francisco didn’t hold Rube’s interest for long, though. He began creating cartoons for local San Francisco papers. He eventually moved to New York where he landed a job as a cartoonist for the Evening Mail.

He used his engineering background to create funny cartoons featuring complicated machines that were described as new inventions to accomplish easy, straightforward tasks through a series of convoluted steps involving chain reactions. The public quickly fell in love with Rube’s inventions.

His work became popular nationwide, as his cartoons were syndicated in hundreds of newspapers across the country. The art world also loved his works, some of which were displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Rube even made it to Hollywood, where his move script “Soup to Nuts” introduced a trio who would soon become famous as the Three Stooges.

Bring It Home

Check out the following activities to learn more about Rube Goldberg and his work:

Dive a little deeper into the history by watching this video that explores the man behind the machines.

If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can purchase and download Rube Works, a fun game that challenges you to build a virtual Rube Goldberg machine.

Make your own homemade Rube Goldberg machine! Check out Make a Rube Goldberg Machine for ideas to help you get started.

A Rube Goldberg culminating project will be included in the Physics Logic: Simple Machines & Laws of Motion curriculum to be released soon.

Science MilestonesYou may also be interested in learning about other inventors and scientists who have made an impact in our lives.

The bloggers of the iHomeschool Network have teamed up to create fun and original unit studies on fascinating people who were born in July.



March 6, 20161

The diddley bow is a single-stringed American instrument which influenced the development of the blues sound. It was traditionally considered a starter or children’s instrument in the Deep South, especially in the African American community. Other nicknames for this instrument include “jitterbug” or “one-string”.diddleybows

A local teacher has received significant acclaim for a folk instrument unit study he has implemented in his classroom. As a result, he has also coordinated with the local art museum to share his knowledge and skill with the local community. We were recently able to take part in his diddley bow workshop and what a treat!

What is a Diddley Bow?

The lineage of the diddley bow goes back thousands of years. The first prototype diddley bow (in the style also known as a Musical Bow) was painted on cave walls in France upwards of 15,000 years ago!

Here’s a video of American blues musician, Seasick Steve, doing what he does best on a diddley bow:

Traditionally, diddley bows were made using a plank with two nails/posts with a tightened string stretched between them. When that string is plucked or struck with a stick, and a smooth hard object is used as a slide and moved up and down on the string, different pitches result and melodies can be played.

How Does it Work?

The parts of the guitar change vibrations from the string into sound. The string diameter, length, and tension determine the note that is played.

Guitar strings come in various diameters. Thick strings produce low notes, thin strings produce high notes.

String tension is adjusted with the tuning peg. String length is measured from the nut to the bridge.

On a conventional guitar, the string length is changed by pushing the string against a fret. On a diddley bow, a slide is used to change the string length while playing.diddleybow3

Make Your Own

A Diddley Bow is traditionally made of spare parts and a wide variety of parts can be used. We started by choosing an old fence board as our base. We used a cookie or candy tin for the resonator. The instructor shared a few he had made that utilized a glass bottle and as Steve demonstrated in the video, even an old tin can will work.

We used a bulldog clip for the spacer, other workshop participants used a bottle cap and a screw. We also used guitar strings that were donated by a local music store but I’ve read that traditionally, the wire from an old straw broom were preferred.  Lastly, a corner bracket, an eye-screw, and an old fence board were all we needed to attach the string. Two 16-penny nails will also do the job.

diddleybow2Procedure:

  1.  Screw a small corner bracket onto one end of a recycled fence board, a couple of inches from the end. Screw an eye-screw onto the opposite end.
  2. Center the cookie tin atop the board just a few inches away from the corner bracket.
  3. Thread the guitar string through the center hole of the corner bracket and lay the string across the cookie tin.
  4. Thread the string though the eye-screw at the opposite side of the board and continue to twist the screw until the string is tight across the length of the board. The cookie tin will be held in place by this tension.
  5. Place a bulldog clip atop the cookie tin to lift up the string a bit. It is okay if the string touches the tin on the side closest to the corner bracket (the bottom side of the board). You don’t want it to touch, however, on the upper side. The bulldog clip is a spacer designed to lift the string up off the tin.
  6. Use a permanent marker to make marks on the board to indicated the different notes. This is done by ear. As you pluck the strings and slide a metal object (a small metal cylinder, for example) along the string, you can hear the pitch change as the string vibrates.
  7. Make a mark with a permanent marker to record the position of the bulldog clip. If it gets bumped and moved, it will change the position of the notes.

You can gather scrap materials yourself as we did or purchase a ready-to-assemble kit. There are several to choose from online, here are a couple to get you started:

Complete Cigar Diddley Bow Kit – This is a complete, ready-to-assemble cigar box diddley bow kit designed in the C. B. Gitty workshops to allow just about anyone to build a fun, easy-to-play instrument.  $24.99

Complete Cigar Box Guitar Kit – This kit contains all of the parts you need to complete your cigar box guitar – the box, neck, hardware and strings. Everything is pre-drilled and pre-marked, so that all you have to do is put in the screws, tap in the string ferrules, string it up and start playing. $79.99
Handmade Music Factory – Intrigued? Learn how to make eight of the most creative, unique-sounding, handmade instruments you’ll find anywhere with this fully illustrated guide. $17.57



January 13, 20162

One of the first curricula I purchased when we began our homeschool journey was Themes To Remember. It is designed to help anyone (particularly children) to recognize 40 classical music themes, to know the name of the composer of each theme, and to be knowledgeable about and love classical music.

These past two weeks I have been donning a new hat as I substitute for an elementary music teacher. I will see each class four times and thus this book is perfect – one lesson each for the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, & Modern periods of music. All of the classes – kinder to fifth have really enjoyed it!! 

The History of Classical Music @EvaVarga.net

“Don’t only practice your art,
but force your way into its secrets,
for it and knowledge can
raise men to the divine.”
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Over the weekend I was inspired to create a foldable for each of the musical eras we have covered: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern. I am delighted to now share these FREEBIES with YOU!! Read on to get the download links.

I have also created an outline to summarize some of the material I covered in each lesson.  I only had time to cover three-four composers from each era, Themes To Remember covers much more. I highly recommend the book if you desire to integrate classical music into your curriculum.

The History of Classical Music: The Baroque Era @EvaVarga.netThe Baroque Era

1600-1750 – Composers wrote predominantly for church and royal family

The music was very ornate with lots of trills and grace notes.

Antonio Vivaldi

  1. Born in 1678 in Italy
  2. Initially a priest and then teacher at all-girls orphanage
  3. Developed concerto form of music (composition for orchestra featuring a solo, often violin)
  4. Spring from The Four Seasons
  5. The Piano Guys – Winter from The Four Seasons + Let it Go from Frozen

Johann Sebastian Bach

  1. Born in 1685 in Germany
  2. 20 children, all accomplished musicians
  3. Organ was his predominant instrument and thus composed for church
  4. Toccata en Fugue in D minor (two segments)

George Frideric Handel

  1. Born in 1685 in Germany
  2. Initially studied to be lawyer before turning to music
  3. Traveled to Italy  to study  with Vivaldi where he learned opera style
  4. Traveled to England
    1. Queen Ann hired him to write Italian Operas, which she loved
    2. King George I employed him to write Water Music
    3. King George II employed him to write Royal Fireworks Music

Download the free Baroque Era printable.

~ ~ ~

The History of Classical Music: The Classical Era @EvaVarga.netThe Classical Era

1750-1820 – Composers wrote mostly for the rich upper classes, the aristocracy

The music stressed control of form and emotions

Franz Joseph Haydn

  1. Born in 1732 in Austria
  2. “Father of the Symphony”
  3. Poor as a child
  4. Symphony No 94 – movement 2

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  1. Born in 1756 in Austria
  2. Greatest composer ever
  3. Symphony No. 40 – movement 1
  4. The Piano Guys – Michael Meets Mozart

Ludwig van Beethoven

  1. Born in 1770 in Germany
  2. Moody & hot tempered, made his own rules
  3. Deaf at 31
  4. Sonata 14 (Moonlight)
  5. The Piano Guys – Beethoven’s Five Secrets

Download the free Classical Era printable.

~ ~ ~

The History of Classical Music: The Romantic Era @EvaVarga.netThe Romantic Era

1820-1900 – Composers wrote for the rising middle class, much of the music was composed to accompany fairy tales

he music stressed the dignity and freedom of man, nature, the hero-warrior, and emotion

Gioachino Antonio Rossini

  1. Born in 1792 in Italy
  2. William Tell Overture

Frédéric François Chopin

  1. Born in 1810 in Poland
  2. Left Russian-occupied Poland at twenty, making France his home
  3. Used sounds of many Polish national dances in his music
  4. Grande valse brillante

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  1. Born in 1840 in Russia
  2. His ballets especially captivating for children – Sleeping Beauty & Nutcracker Suite
  3. Swan Lake

Edvard Hagerup Grieg

  1. Born in 1843 in Norway
  2. Short in stature
  3. Like other composers of his time, proud of his country
  4. Peer Gynt Suite
    1. Solveig’s Song
    2. Hall of the Mountain King

The Piano Guys – One Direction: What Makes You Beautiful

Download the free Romantic Era printable.

~ ~ ~

The History of Classical Music: The Modern Era @EvaVarga.netThe Modern Era

1900-present – Composers began to experiment with new forms, harmonies, and rhythms more than ever before.

New styles of music were developed including jazz, electronic, pop, and reggae.

Claude-Achille Debussy

  1. Born in 1862 in France
  2. Said to have begun the Modern Period with his impressionist style
  3. Wrote much of his music for piano
  4. Created new chords and new scales – much to the irritation of his teachers
  5. Clair de lune (Moonlight) 

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff

  1. Born in 1873 in Russia
  2. Left Russia with his wife and two daughters during the Russian Revolution of 1917, never to return
  3. Virtuoso pianist and specialized in the music of Chopin as well as his own
  4. Piano Concerto No. 2 Mvt 3

John Philip Sousa

  1. Born in 1854 in the United States
  2. America’s best remembered and favorite bandmaster
  3. Wrote more than 100 marches and is thus known as the “March King”
  4. Toured Europe four times with his concert band and there introduced Europeans to America’s ragtime music
  5. Upon return, on tour in the states, he introduced America to the music of Tchaikovsky, Rossini, and others
  6. Semper Fidelis
  7. The Stars and Stripes Forever

Download the free Modern Era printable.

~ ~ ~

I have had a fabulous time teaching this mini-unit. It is so fun to share with kids the joys of classical music. Several kiddos have come up to me at recess to share that they googled The Piano Guys when they got home. Others have given me high fives and hugs in the hallway. A mother (and teacher in the building) told me her child (in kinder) came home and exclaimed, “Did you know Vivaldi and Bach were composers?” So very cool.



October 31, 2015

I have been fascinated with ravens since I was a child. I recall my mother reading aloud Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven at Halloween. Poe was one of her favorite authors and she delighted in reading this glorious poem in narrative voice.

Ravens Mini Unit @EvaVarga.netNew research has found that ravens remember prior interactions with people and even communicate these interactions with others of their kind. I’ve read stories of ravens leaving trinkets and gifts for those who have shown them kindness. My father has a pair of ravens that visit him regularly and when we visit, they can always be seen perched nearby keeping an eye on things.

Raven Mini Unit

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an Audubon post, How to Tell a Raven From a Crow on Facebook and the wheels in my head immediately started spinning. Would not this make a wonderful Halloween themed mini unit? Yes! I must put something together …

Science

The Audubon link I shared above is the perfect place to begin. While ravens and crows may look similar in some ways, there are several distinctive traits that help set them apart.

You probably know that ravens are larger, the size of a red-tailed hawk. Ravens often travel in pairs, while crows are seen in larger groups. Also, watch the bird’s tail as it flies overhead. The crow’s tail feathers are basically the same length, so when the bird spreads its tail, it opens like a fan. Ravens, however, have longer middle feathers in their tails, so their tail appears wedge-shaped when open.

Go outside and watch them. Bring along your nature journal and record your observations. How many do you see? How do they interact? What are they eating? Do they scratch at the soil with their feet? What sounds do they make?

Consider adding several quick sketches in your journal or taking photographs. When you return indoors, take more time to illustrate the birds you observed. Feel free to use a field guide or photograph to help you.

Literature

Ravens are perhaps the most common bird symbol in the mythologies and religions of ancient cultures. They assume a variety of roles, ranging from messengers of deities and sages to oracles and tricksters. They play a central part in many creation myths and are typically associated with the supernatural realms lying beyond the ordinary experience.

The Raven: Mini Unit for Middle School @EvaVarga.netThe history of ravens as mythical birds can be traced as far as the 1000-year-old Norse mythology. Odin, the chief god in Norse mythology, had a pair ravens called Hugin and Munin perching on his shoulders. Each morning they were sent out into the world to observe what was happening and question everybody. They would come back by sunrise and whisper to Odin what they had learned. Sometimes Odin himself would turn into a raven.

Hugin and Munin
Fly every day
Over all the world;
I worry for Hugin
That he might not return,
But I worry more for Munin.

Huginn ok Muninn
fljúga hverjan dag
Jörmungrund yfir;
óumk ek of Hugin,
at hann aftr né komi-t,
þó sjámk meir of Munin.

I encourage you to research the symbolism of ravens in a culture of your choice. Here are two of my favorites:

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

How Raven Stole the Sun (Native American Myth)

Art

Ravens have appeared in the mythology of many ancient people. It is no surprise, therefore, that ravens are also popular subjects in art.

I have often been inspired by children’s books. My kids and I will periodically try to recreate the illustrations we enjoy in picture books. I am not alone.

Ravens Mini Unit @EvaVarga.netOn the website, Native American Art Projects and Lesson Plans, I found two lesson plans centered around children’s books featuring ravens:

A Man Called Raven (Oil Pastel)

How the Raven Stole the Sun (Crayon Batik)

 



August 25, 2015

I love history! My favorite books are all historical fiction. Had I not pursued a degree in science – I likely would have considered a career in history.

History, as a school subject, is often overlooked in the elementary years (with the exception of a few isolated unit studies). As a homeschool mom, I am blessed to be able to immerse my children in a comprehensive and chronological study of history.

When we first started homeschooling, we had the opportunity to volunteer at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon as living history interpreters. It was an amazing experience living and homeschooling in 1880.

In addition to reading about history, initially in the four volume series by Susan Wise Bauer, Story of the World and now in her series for older readers, The History of the Ancient World, we enjoy a variety of research projects, timelines, hands-on activities, and field trips around the world. One of our favorite annual experiences is a living wax museum.

Create a Living History Day @EvaVarga.net

I have written previously about our experiences in Bringing History to Life and the Collision of Art & Literary History. We have had a lot of fun over the years and have learned a great deal not just about the historical characters we have researched, but also about public speaking, goal setting, and historical re-enactments.

In all the years we have been engaged in these long-term history projects, I have had a little whisper in my ear to take it to the next level through participation in National History Day. National History Day began in April 1974 – an idea of history professor David Van Tassel, who was worried about the decline of the humanities in general and history in particular in America’s schools.

Van Tassel was particularly distressed by the boring rote memorization he saw in most history classrooms.  He wanted to reinvigorate the teaching and learning of history.

Today, National History Day contests are taking place in every state. Providing a learning adventure that teaches critical thinking, writing and research skills and boosts performance across all subjects – not just history.

Meet Historical Figures at a Living History Event @EvaVarga.net
Can you identify the important historical figures portrayed here? (Answers revealed at the end of the post)

Every year National History Day frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for the broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. This year’s theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.

The theme provides an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates. It encourages students to use critical thinking skills to dive into historical content and thereby develop perspective and understanding.

We will be participating for in the National History Day contest for the first time this academic year. I’ll be coordinating the contest for the Southern Oregon coast and sharing our progress along the way.

I want to encourage you to join us. The NHD website provides an incredible array of lesson materials and curriculum to help you get started.

 

1. Gudrid Thorbjarnardotter (mother to first Viking child born in the Americas), 2. Ansel Adams, 3. Chief Joseph 4. Irena Sendler 5. Amelia Earhart 5. Mærsk McKinney Møller