How to select pictures for study

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  • Hannah

    For our first-ever artist study (James Bama), just to increase the interest level of my boys, I let them thumb through the book and take turns selecting a picture to study week by week. It worked great. I am wondering if any other mom does this on a regular basis rather than selecting all the pictures herself.  I used The Western Art of James Bama to begin with, because I wanted them to learn the discipline and methods of picture study on subject matter that they are already fascinated with. We’re moving on to other artists- probably Diego Velazquez to start with, since we listened to I, Juan de Pareja for fun last year. I’m contemplating using the same approach- letting them choose some of the pictures we study. Obviously, this would not work if I was using a collection of some other artist that also included inappropriate images.


    I’ve not done it for this reason: if they are thumbing through the book they are seeing all or many of the pictures ahead of time, getting caught up in looking at them all right now. BUT if it works for you then do it!

    Last year for our artists we looked at a different picture about every other day, sometimes every third day, because they were prolific AND we had a large book of their work. Two of the ones we did last year were John James Audubon and Bev Doolittle. The Bev Doolittle book in particular also functioned as our biography for her, so we read her story and came across paintings as we went, as she painted them.

    This year we’re doing it differently again. That’s ok. Just do what works!


    If you don’t like a picture there is a scissors, and the explanation that you don’t like to look at those kind of things, and that you like to look at lovely and good things. This may be a more important lesson than the picture study itself.

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