Ephemeral Art

Have you heard of ephemeral art? It describes art that is non-permanent, short-lived and transient.

Some ephemeral artists use mainly natural materials:-

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Others use man-made materials in a temporary way:-

Christo

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Because of its emphasis on the process over the finished product, it is a perfect art style for young children to explore. Think of chalk drawings on the footpath, sand castles at the beach, pictures drawn with a finger on a steamy rainy-day window. Children love these activities, even though (or because?) there is nothing to hang on the wall when they have finished. If they are not happy with what they have made, a quick swipe of the hand and it is gone!

Here are a few examples that my children made last year. I love how they used the things they found in ways I never would have thought of.

Have a lovely weekend!

The homework station.

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If homework at our house was a book, it’s title would be ‘100 ways to procrastinate – the ultimate guide to putting things off’.

The conversations go something like this – “I need the scissors”, “I can’t find a pencil”, “Where’s my homework book?” and “I left my pencil case at school”.

In an attempt to eliminate this daily struggle, I have created a homework station, which contains everything a little person could possibly need to complete their dreaded homework. I used this trolley, as it is bright, has three levels, and is on wheels. We keep it next to the kitchen bench, which is where the children do their homework. I like being able to keep an eye on them, and be close enough to help when needed.

Pencils, textas, crayons, scissors, eraser, sharpener, ruler and glue sticks live on the top level; homework books are in the middle; and spare paper is kept at the bottom. I try to keep it looking tidy so that the children can get straight into their work, without having to hunt around for what they need.

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I use silver plant pots to hold the pencils, so the children can move them to where they are needed. These pots also help to keep everything organised. I find that the easier it is for children to put things away, the more inclined they are to do so.

I deliberately made the area as inviting as possible as I want homework to be a pleasurable experience, not something to avoid. (hmm..we’re still working on this!) I know that when my office desk is neat, clear and organised, I do feel more motivated to begin work. We also try to stick to a routine when it comes to homework. After the children have unpacked their bags, changed out of their uniforms and had something to eat, they do half an hour of homework. I like to get it out of the way, so they then have the rest of the afternoon to relax and play.

Having all of the drawing materials in the one place also means that quite often, the children will just grab some paper and the coloured pencils, and sit up at the kitchen bench to draw a picture while I am making dinner. I love chatting to them about their day as they draw and colour and create.

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What tips do you have for getting children to do their homework?

Are you a procrastinator, or do you just get stuck in?

Do your creative juices flow when you see a row of perfectly sharpened, coloured pencils?

Sleeping Beauty

On the weekend I booked tickets to go and see the ballet, Sleeping Beauty, with my mum and daughters. It is being presented by the Imperial Russian Ballet Company, at the State Theatre. I can’t wait!

Each year I try to take my kids to see a show. I would love to think that they will keep the wonderful memories of these experiences, and that they will gradually develop an appreciation for artistic expression. Most of all, I just love the fun and anticipation; sitting in the darkened theatre, waiting for the curtain to go up, clapping like crazy, and talking about it for days afterwards.

When I was about five, my mum took us to see Disney on Ice. I can still clearly remember sitting in the rows of seats, being bombarded by the colour, lights and energy, seeing all those larger than life characters. We bought a program, and I would look through it again and again in wonder.

Last year, I went with my mum and daughters to Mary Poppins. The best part was actually watching my girls faces during the show. Their wide eyes, taking in the magic, excitement and drama. When she ‘flew’ over the audience, I thought they were going to take off too!

The year before that we saw Swan Lake on Ice, with the Russian Imperial Ice Stars. This was one of the most magical performances I have ever seen. I spent the show in a combination of goosebumps, tears and open-mouthed awe. Many of the performers are former Olympic skaters, and their skills on the ice are mind-blowing. They tell the story of the doomed lovers in an incredibly poignant way. Oh, and the kids enjoyed it too!

The very first concert I took my girls to see was the ballet of Swan Lake, also by the Imperial Russian Ballet Company. (They truly are amazing). We were so far up the back that I nearly got vertigo, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. They were taken in by the spell of the orchestra, the magic happening on stage and the sense of occasion. It was performed at the State Theatre, which feels a bit like stepping into a palace.

Do you remember the first show you went to as a child? I’d love to hear! xx

“When can we do the fun stuff?”

 

Today we went to Hazelhurst Art Gallery in Gymea to see an exhibition of artworks by leading Australian children’s picture book illustrators.

Curator Mike Shuttleworth says Look! gives children a chance to see artwork from their favourite stories up close and explore the process of visual storytelling: “Here are works from Australia’s finest children’s book illustrators. The exquisite images tell many stories, some beautiful, some hilarious, some difficult. They help children to understand their world. They give imaginations fuel to dream.” 

My kids loved wandering around the exhibition, talking about the pictures, asking questions. There was one picture in which the artist had scratched the paint to make the foxes fur look, well, furry. Next to the painting, the artists’ tools were displayed in a box. My kids found this especially fascinating as it gave them a special glimpse into how illustrations can be created. When we got home, Callum stuck a piece of aluminium foil onto paper, then scratched it with a pencil. He said “See, this is what the lady did with the fox!”

In the middle of the space was a big pile of cushions, a cosy armchair and bookshelves displaying all the books from the exhibition. After looking at all the pictures, we sat and read a couple of our favourites, including ‘Love from Grandma’.

As it was the first day of the exhibition, there were a range of special activities for the children, such as short films, book making, craft, drawing lessons, and FACE PAINTING!!  My kids’ love for face painting knows no bounds. Callum actually spent most of the time asking “When can we do the fun stuff? I really want to get my face painted!” So, we made our way to Studio 1, where we found an extremely long queue leading to a surprisingly calm looking face painter. After asking the kids if they reeeeeally wanted to have their faces painted (I know, stupid question), we lined up, and lined up, and lined up…for 90 minutes! This was a lady who clearly took her job as a painter of faces seriously. (see results below)

In the end, I took my tired little puppy, kitten and vampire (!?) home for lunch and a rest. We didn’t have long as my kitten had a McDonald’s party to go to.

So, if you’re in the area, and are looking for a free, fun experience for your kids these school holidays, I would highly recommend the LOOK! exhibition.

Image at top: Elizabeth Honey, illustration from I’m Still Awake, Still, music by Sue Johnson, Allen & Unwin, 2008, gouache on paper