Aim Low for Success

We did an art project.

Hey, that is a monumental statement.  Even though I am a occasional, some-time wanna-be artist and crafter, we don't very often get at the children's art projects around here. I know. Shameful. I have no good excuses except that by the time we finish the reading, writing and 'rithmetic I seem to be out of time and energy to break out the clay, paint, glue and plaster. And that excuse really isn't a good one.

We did do a couple craft projects during Christmas break. The boys made a gift for their grandmother. I learned a lot during that project. I found that again, these two boys are as different as night and day. Samuel put his heart and soul into the project and Peter began lamenting and gnashing his teeth about five minutes into it. Clearly Samuel has the arts and crafts genes flowing in his body (do genes flow?) and Peter favors the other side of the family that does not. Eventually Peter persevered with it and they finished the gift and had that nice sense of accomplishment. But I learned that complex projects that take two days were not going to be "fun" from beginning to end.

So our art project this week was just a teeny, tiny one of low expectations that required nothing but art paper, crayons and some oil. The boys had fun with it nonetheless. It was inspired by our history reading of the colonists building their first settlement homes. The book described that the windows in the early homes were covered with oiled paper. We talked about how inefficient such window coverings would be and decided to try oiling some paper ourselves.

This art project was a bit more do-able then say, cutting down a few trees, hewing them into square-sided beams with an adz and constructing a colonial style building. I've heard or read about homeschoolers who do this kind of learning in their schooling. Is it possible that these homeschoolers really exist? If so, I bow to to their superior educational dedication.

I found some heavy art paper (used for acrylic painting projects that, um, someone somewhere does...) and used a sharpie marker to draw on a stained glass style design. The boys then rounded up six crayons from the bottom of the pencil box and proceeded to coloring on the smooth side of the paper.

When their designs were finished they used a cotton ball to rub mineral oil onto the rougher side of the art paper.

The paper immediately began to get more translucent. They buffed the paper with the cotton ball, rubbing the oil in taking care not to use an excessive amount of oil

We let the papers dry over night. The next day they were completely dry and not the least bit oily or tacky feeling at all.

As window art this was a surprisingly successful project!