Artful Maundy Monday Oct. 12

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
–Michelangelo

I hope, as Christian artists do, that my work will somehow glorify God, and not always in the obvious ways. We strive for our works to speak to His essence, to His Spirit, even if it is not a “Christian” piece. If you allow God to work with you in your studio, His will be evident in some way in the finished product. And we will be changed as well, as we listen to His voice.

As Michelangelo may well have referred to the “divine perfection” of his subject, God as Creator of all still is the light source. He still receives the glory for His creation, whether the artist knows it or not. Beauty is God and displaying beauty in your art will always please Him, even if no one else ever sees it.

This is the first of a new post series on faith and art. Please feel free to comment and start a [respectful] discussion about Protestant Christian faith and art.

Some of my fave art sites

Don’t you just love window shopping? I love to visit the sites of other artists and craftspeople. It’s inspiring, challenging and refreshing to my artistic sensibilities. Here are some places I like to go:

Oh my goodness I could go on and on. Feel free to leave a comment with your link or a link to an artist you enjoy.

our little garden

In art time I had my girls paint a picture. It could be about anything they wanted, so long as it fit the artistic criteria we were studying. What she did made my day.

g garden 

The picture is a garden, with her family as the flowers. Jesus is watering us with His Word and God is shining down on us with rays of hope. When I asked her to write details about it so we can remember what it was about, I should have specified to write it on the back!

I am so glad to see that she is understanding what we are doing. She is “getting it,” and it is coming out of her even in her free time. Thank you Lord!

BTW, the drawing is in black crayon, the background is in cool colors and the flowers in warm colors. the crayon will keep the colors separate, unless you really go crazy with it. I think it’s lovely.

 

God the Artist

When I was working on my lessons for the week I was copying a poem by the poet Angela Morgan (which I will share here soon as well). This is another of her poems that is so wonderful I thought I would share it with you. I hope your children enjoy it as well. We try to read all the fine literature we can, especially when it so beautifully glorifies our Creator.

God the Artist by Angela Morgan

God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?
How did you dream of the Milky Way
To guide us from afar.
How did you think of a clean brown pool
Where flecks of shadows are?

God, when you thought of a cobweb,
How did you think of dew?
How did you know a spider’s house
Had shingles bright and new?
How did you know the human folk
Would love them like they do?

God, when you patterned a bird song,
Flung on a silver string,
How did you know the ecstasy
That crystal call would bring?
How did you think of a bubbling throat
And a darling speckled wing?

God, when you chiseled a raindrop,
How did you think of a stem,
Bearing a lovely satin leaf
To hold the tiny gem?
How did you know a million drops
Would deck the morning’s hem?

Why did you mate the moonlit night
With the honeysuckle vines?
How did you know Madeira bloom
Distilled ecstatic wines?
How did you weave the velvet disk
Where tangled perfumes are?
God, when you thought of a pine tree,
How did you think of a star?

Charles Willson Peale

 

Charles Willson Peale

 

We are studying Peale for the next two weeks. I was fascinated with him. He accomplished many things and led an intriguing life. Among the many things I discovered: He learned saddlemaking, painting, metalwork among other things. He was friends with many of the founding fathers and as a patriot bravely fought in the Revolutionary War. He had 17 children, 11 of whom lived (most of them he named after artists) and held the controversial position that a woman could be as creatively expressive as a man. He started the first natural science museums, a revolutionary idea for his time. He loved his family and his country. Here is how I developed our studies.I searched my library for resources and came across these (there are many more, including an autobiography on microfiche):

  • The Ingenious Mr. Peale: Painter, Patriot and Man of Science by Janet Wilson
  • This biography is short (120 pp. or so) but thorough. It gave me enough information to flesh out his life without getting bogged down in a lot of unnecessary information.
  • Mermaids, Mummies and Mastodons: The Emergence of the American Museum published by the American Association of Museums Has an interesting timeline that documents the items procured for the different museums . Also contains sketches by his sons detailing the museums’ interiors.
  • The Joke’s on George by Michael O. Tunnell This is a children’s book detailing an true and funny incident when George Washington came to visit Peale at his museum in Philadelphia. This book really got me started on studying him more in-depth.

I also found more info on Peale online.

I discovered that one of my local museums also had some of his work. That was very exciting to me!

First I read through the biography of Peale and made notes on the following (according the the study outline in Dr. Rose’s Guide): Key People in Peale’s life, Key Events (in the form of a timeline), Key Institutions and Key Documents. I also kept a list of his character traits and insights as I went along.

From there I looked up key words in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and then looked up those words in the Bible to discover the Principles I need to discuss. After I had done all of this I assembled samples of his work and then I felt I had a good grasp on just who Charles Willson Peale was.

All of this information helped me formulate my weekly plans. We will incorporate Peale in every subject these two weeks. Some things we have planned are:

  • history study of his life.
  • field trip to the Gilcrease Museum to see his work up close.
  • creating a terrarium for science to study nature as Peale did in his own garden at Belfield.
  • creating our own living history museum, complete with stuffed animals and local flora and fauna.
  • We may “sell” tickets to family to come and tour our museum and see our hard work.
  • Coloring pages, definitions and other examples of Gabrielle’s work to file in her notebook. We will keep track of the four keys that we discover in our studies and document and color them.
  • Copying Peale’s art and discussing his influences and the attributes of his work
  • We will still work on handwriting and mathematics each day and try to fit it with Peale as we can.

This is just to give you an idea of how PA works for me. We won’t study in this way every time, that is, one single topic. I will begin to develop lessons in unit study fashion according to the Links on the Chain of Christianity. What I mean is we will study art, history, science and the other subjects that fit along the same link.