I spent all day yesterday at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts with my Professor and classmates. We all participated in this activity, and I really found that the day blew by faster than I had anticipated. We began by looking at a portrait and writing down everything we noticed, then moved on to a landscape and did the same. Then we put the person from the portrait into the landscape. Viola! Something to write about : )
Start by giving your child his/her own writing journal. Build up that this is a special, important place for them to record their thoughts and observations about things. I cannot emphasis how important it is that they see that it's important to you too. Keep your own journal and jot in it as you make observations.
When looking at art ask your child the following:
1. What do you notice? Using all five of your senses, describe what you see. (horses in the picture? how does that smell?)
2. What adjectives would you use to describe this image? How would you describe the mood?
3. What do you think is going on? Which details in the painting support your answer? (even better, what is going on in the painting that you can't see?)
4. What does this painting make you wonder about? What questions do you have about the work of art?
My own project looked like this:
Painting: William Merritt Chase: Mother and Child
vivid Scarlett sash
Mother's wistful look
elaborately decorated rattle
large dark eyes
Painting: George Inness- Landscape
air not moving
servant walking along shoreline
dark yellow undertones
I then put the portrait of the mother and child into the landscape. What I came up with was more internal dialogue of the mother.
She never thought of the low country as home. For her, home would always be the bustle of her beloved Boston. Here she bristled at the dialect of the locals. Many times unable to understand the simplest of responses. Even though the Nanny employed by the estate was more than able to care for the infant, she found herself wanting to pace while swaddling him to keep the night from silencing her soul.
So take that trip to the museum, but instead of just looking at the art, turn it into a writing experience for your child!