What a wonderful day. A 10! For starters, there was no sibling bickering, and very little whining. That alone makes it a 9. It gets pushed up to a 10 when I feel completely fulfilled and happy and only a few things can really do that for me. One of those things is a trip to see some art. And wow, did we find it today!
I decided to take the girls to The Clark today. It's a fine art museum in Williamstown, MA, a short drive from here. I really don't know how long it takes to get there because I didn't look at the clock all day. We got ready at a leisurely pace, drove along country roads, up and down a mountain at a leisurely pace, ate a picnic lunch on the museum grounds at our own pace, and toured the museum without regard to the time.
I've been taking the girls to the Hyde Collection and I finally feel comfortable branching out to other museums with them. They understand the behavioral rules at the museum: no loud voices, no running, no jumping, don't get too close to the artwork, and only dance in small circles if you don't risk bumping into other people. They're starting to understand the real rules, and when they fully understand those, they won't need to remember the behavioral rules, because acting in a disrespectful manner won't be an issue at all. The real rules are: ask questions about the art, wonder what is happening in a painting, and wonder what happened in it before and after it was captured by the artist, pay attention to how it makes you feel, pay attention to what is in it and what isn't in it, and most of all, remember that each piece of art will mean something different each time you look at it throughout your life.
'H' is young, too young to remember the behavioral rules all the time, but she is really good at asking questions about the art. 'A' is an attentive student. I had several people come up to me and tell me that the girls were so good about asking questions about the works and appreciating what was there. I have to admit, I expected them to say that they were so well behaved, but the people who approached me were past that - they weren't paying attention to the girls' behavior. They were paying attention to how they interacted with the art. These people loved art too. They understood the real rules, and were happy to see two little girls learning them too.
I went a little crazy at the gift shop - crazy for me, because I usually don't purchase anything. 'A' and 'H' each picked out a postcard of their favorite painting to bring home, and I bought three books that make me feel super excited:
Spot the Differences: Art Masterpiece Mysteries, published by Dover Publications. My goodness, this book makes me want to cry tears of happiness! Each set of full color, beautiful pages shows 2 copies of a famous work of art and one copy has between 6-14 changes to find. For example this is one page and this is the next. I love it because it gets children to really look at a work of art. And it's Book 1, which means there is a Book 2. Oh my, double heaven!
The second book I bought is a type of un-coloring book, which is great for someone like me (I have a severe coloring book aversion). Artastic! is full of "art smart activities" that engage children. It met 'A's approval, so I decided to get it.
The Usborne Book of Art Ideas is a great guide for me. It has all kinds of ideas about introducing children to different ways of creating with paints and crayons and pastels.
It was wonderful day - the weather was great, the art was wonderful, the girls were a delight, and the drive was more than pleasant. We came home and right away broke out the watercolor paints and paper and went to work experimenting.
Tomorrow, Jeff and I are going to take the girls for a kayak trip. I'm looking forward to it and so is Jeff. I hope the girls are looking forward to it too. We'll see.
Have a fantastic weekend.