Tag archives for Art
The mighty Zambezi was calling our name so we ventured up river to see The Falls from a different perspective. Our tented camp was right on the edge of the river. We spent our days listening to the one million liters of water thundering each second and watching the smoke it created hover over our heads.
One afternoon we went into town and visited a school. It is hard to imagine 60 students in one class with just one teacher, but in Africa there are often larger classes. Even though the school was built of four simple walls, all the kids were happy and learning. We wanted to do our part to help so we went to the school supply store and bought tons of paint sets, pencils, colored pencils, exercise books, erasers, and glue sticks. They all seemed so incredibly happy about our small contribution.
While we were in town we also went to the craft market. At every stop in Africa we have seen extraordinary crafts, but in Zambia the collection of artists and crafts was outstanding. To our right there were vibrant fabrics, to our left there were intricately woven baskets, and in front of us were wildlife oil paintings so real you thought the animals might hop off the canvas and bite (and of course my mom fell in love with one).
The patterns and colors of the fabrics are so beautifully African. The women use the fabric for everything; for their skirts, for their bags, and for their baby holders. Something else I noticed as we wandered through the shops is their creativity and the fact that nothing goes to waste. We saw people playing checkers with some rusty bottle tops in the sand. We also saw people taking old pieces of plastic and weaving them into bags and dresses.
Our final night in Livingstone was really special. We went out for an evening boat cruise. The sunset that night was stunning. The sky turned a fiery orange and the reflection in the turquoise water made it even better. Then to top off a perfect night we saw a herd of elephant (instant smile) at the water’s edge. They were admiring the awe-inspiring night just like we were. The Smoke that Thunders wowed us and will always be remembered, but the time had come to move on, so we are off to Malawi, the warm heart of Africa.
More than 114,000 young artists from across the country have submitted their drawings to the Doodle 4 Google contest, and now you can help select the winners! The drawings are all based on this year’s theme, which is “If I could travel in time, I’d visit…”
The competition was open to K-12 students in the United States. The entries are broken up into five different age groups, and you can vote for your favorite in each category. The national winner will be chosen on May 17, and the winning doodle will appear on the Google homepage on May 18.
Illustrations courtesy of Google
Our first night in Cordoba, Argentina we were wandering the cool streets full of art galleries and found an oil painting that perfectly captured our many weeks in South America. There are two horses; saddled gaucho style, standing by a beautiful river that looks like so many we have seen along the way. We just had to have it.
After making friends with the gallery owner and making our purchase we wandered a little farther and found a sushi restaurant. We loved having something different for a change and the sushi was very yummy. The next day we went on a city tour and learned about the history of Cordoba.
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BOOK NAME: The Shadows (Books of Elsewhere #1)
AUTHOR: Jacqueline West
Do you like to draw elaborate pictures or paint vivid masterpieces? Imagine if you had the ability to enter paintings and make their scenes come to life in a parallel dimension. How would you use this remarkable power?
Eleven-year old Olive Dunwoody and her family have just moved into a massive, old house on Linden Street. The house is full of winding hallways, unusual antiques, and peculiar paintings. At first, Olive doesn’t notice anything particularly remarkable about any of the paintings that cover the house’s aged walls, but then she notices that some of the painted images move and shift ever so slightly. When her parents try to remove one of the paintings off the wall, it won’t budge. It’s as if the painting was attached to the wall with super glue. Olive doesn’t know what to make of all the strange happenings.
Things become much clearer when Olive finds a pair of spectacles in a drawer. When she puts the spectacles on, all of a sudden the paintings come to life! The trees in a forest painting sway in the wind as a faint white figure darts between their trunks. Olive becomes curious about this strange moving shape. When she takes a closer look, she discovers that she can enter the painting! She meets the moving entity, who happens to be a young boy named Morton. She also encounters several talking cats that can travel in and out of the paintings as well. However, Olive soon discovers that there are more sinister secrets hidden in the paintings. A blanket of thick shadows chases her through the forest painting where she found Morton. Olive also discovers a large, brown dog trapped in a painting in the attic. Olive wonders why Morton and the dog are in the paintings. What other secrets does the mysterious house hold?
I could not put down this fantastic book. The suspenseful storyline is what kept me interested. Olive is thrown into life threatening situations. She must also think quickly and imaginatively to overcome obstacles and unravel the mystery behind the paintings. Her curious and determined demeanor helps her overcome many of the challenges she runs into. The book’s ending was definitely the most entertaining to read. In the final chapters, Olive must face her fears and battle the evil being that haunts the house. Every chapter was filled with nail biting moments. The book also leaves a few cliff hangers to hopefully be answered later in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows.
BOOK NAME: Treasury of Greek Mythology
AUTHOR: Donna Jo Napoli
Mythology is a fascinating genre with classic stories about gods, villains, and heroes. National Geographic’s Treasury of Greek Mythology takes you to the world of the Greek gods and goddesses. The book shows the birth, the different qualities, and the significance of the mythological figures in the Greek world.
From the king of the Olympian gods to the strong, enormous demi-god, the stories of all the Greek gods are being retold in this book. The prophecy states that Zeus will overthrow his father, Cronus, and take over the throne. Zeus fights his father and his uncles successfully and the prophecy comes true. Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, sprung out of Zeus’s head because she was the daughter of Metis, one of Zeus’s wives whom he had swallowed. Heracles is a strong hero who is driven insane and for the crime he commits has to perform twelve labors in order to be forgiven. These are just a few of the many enchanting stories in this book.
Treasury of Greek Mythology is an intriguing mythological book appropriate for all ages. The stories are simple to understand and are very engaging. Each story has an interesting fact which makes it more fun for the reader. The illustrations are beautiful and use vivid colors, bringing out the splendid atmosphere surrounding the Greek gods. Also, the lush family tree and the cast of characters helped me understand each Greek god and their relations with other gods.
While we were in Punaka, the home to one of the most beautiful and important Dzongs (spectacular forts or monasteries), we got to see two elephants that were brought from the south of Bhutan for the royal wedding. Everyone was crazy about the elephants because they don’t have elephants in Punaka, so these were the first elephants most of the people had ever seen. People were giving the elephants bananas and some were even giving them money. What made the experience even cooler was that we got to pet the elephants. Their trunks were really hairy.
When we arrived in Bhutan, Chhimi, our guide and Kinley, our driver were waiting for us. We got to see an archery match on the way to our hotel. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan.
There was a lot of preparation going on because the royal wedding was only a few weeks away. The king is going to marry a commoner which is a big deal. Everyone loves the king and his soon to be bride and is very excited about the wedding. After a nice first night in Paro it was on to the Haa Valley.
During or time in Haa the king was also spending some time there because a couple weeks ago an earthquake struck Bhutan and did some damage. While we were in Haa we went on some great hikes. One of my favorites was to a monastery on the top of a mountain. When we reached the top we shared lunch with some friendly dogs.
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BOOK NAME: Masterpiece
AUTHOR: Elise Broach
After reading this book, you will never look at a beetle the same way again! Meet Marvin, a beetle living in a New York City apartment who is content with his normal life as a bug. But everything changes when the boy in the apartment, James, gets an ink set for his birthday. Suddenly Marvin discovers a talent he possesses, drawing! He dips his feet in the leftover ink and starts drawing miniature pictures. The drawings he makes are the bug size equivalent of regular art and so he makes miniature masterpieces. But all too soon, his amazing skill gets him into a heap of trouble. His parents warn him not to get mixed up in the world of humans, but it’s too late. With help from James, he manages to make a difference in the art world. In the process, Marvin not only learns a lot about humans, but also a lot about himself.
This was a book that I thought was really well rounded and would please a lot of bookworms. As a Rebecca Caudill nominee for 2012, I knew it would not be disappointing (I recommend you also read the other Caudill nominations since they always make for a good read). This charming story gets you to stop and think about what life is like for a bug. I love how you get to live the adventure through the eyes of a beetle and wonder what it would be like to live life miniature style. It definitely makes you appreciate the smaller things in life! Masterpiece would make for a great book to read over the summer. It’s fun, with just enough suspense to keep you turning the pages.
BOOK NAME: Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage
AUTHOR: Sophie Webb
Do you ever wonder what fabulous life forms dwell in the deep ocean? Would you ever want to travel far from shore and discover what is beneath the surface of the sparkling blue waters? Then maybe a career like Sophie Webb’s is one for you! Sophie is a naturalist and artist with a strong interest in birds. In this book, Sophie describes one of her voyages into the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). The purpose of her journey is to count, photograph, and take samples of the vast array of marine life that live in the ETP. This information will help to show the human impact on this unique and diverse ecosystem. Sophie observes the seabirds and dolphins, and through illustrations and writing, describes her unique experiences over the four-month voyage. From tiny flying fish to massive blue whales, Sophie’s art depicts the incredible wonders of nature.
This book was especially interesting for me to read. Marine biology and art have both been my passions for as long as I can remember. I’ve drawn thousands of pictures of ocean animals, and have learned many names and characteristics of many species of marine life. This book taught me about new creatures and incredible facts that I had never heard of before. For example, I learned that spinner dolphins can look different depending on where they are found. I also used to think that sperm whales were the deepest divers, but thanks to this book, I now know that Cuvier’s beaked whales hold the record for deep dives. I also have begun to draw some of animals pictured in the book, using Sophie’s illustrations to create masterpieces of my own. This story took me on a fascinating ocean adventure. It is a short and easy non-fiction read, making it a very unique combination that is a welcome addition to any reader’s collection. The story is written with such incredible detail and paints realistic images of the sea life. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
BOOK NAME: The Strange Message in the Parchment (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, No 54)
AUTHOR: Carolyn Keene
Do you want to get involved in some detective work? Read The Strange Message in the Parchment by Carolyn Keene. This is a mystery which is part of the Nancy Drew series, one of my all time favorites.
Nancy Drew is an amateur detective who is working diligently to decipher a message in a parchment. Nancy’s friend, Junie, and her family have a parchment with paintings which they bought from their neighbor, Mr. Rocco. They need to decode the hidden message in the paintings. Nancy and Junie question Mr. Rocco about the parchment, but he keeps quiet – which is suspicious. Also, the girls meet young Tony, a worker for Mr. Rocco, who tells them that Mr. Rocco treats him cruelly and that someday he wants to find his family. Nancy’s biggest disappointment comes when the parchment is stolen. However, her picture perfect memory helps her track down the artist. Read the book to see if Nancy is successful in catching the thief and finding Tony’s family. How do the paintings on the parchment weave into the whole mystery?
Kids would love reading this book filled with endless suspense. Each chapter ended with excitement or left me hanging on a thread that I never felt like letting go of the book. Also, this book is composed of couple of mysteries which are interconnected making the book more complex and interesting to read. The way the clues are put together, I myself felt like a detective trying to solve the case. So pick this spine-tingling book off the library shelf and start reading.
BOOK NAME: A Single Shard
AUTHOR: Linda Sue Park
A Single Shard is like a walk down an art gallery with a 12 year old docent, seeing beautiful Korean celadon pottery. This historical fiction book with some exciting adventure is written by Linda Sue Park and shows that hard work is always rewarding.
Tree-ear is a young orphan boy who lives in Ch’ulp’o, Korea during the 12th century. He lives under the bridge with his caring and wise friend, Crane-man, whose meaningful advices teach Tree-ear good virtue. Tree-ear works hard for master potter Min and helps him make the most exquisite celadon pottery, so that Min can be assigned the royal commission for the palace. The emissary however wants to see more intricate designs in Min’s pottery before assigning him the commission. Since Min is old, considerate and thoughtful Tree-ear agrees to go on an arduous travel to Songdo to deliver the beautiful vases to the emissary. Read the book to see if Tree-ear safely completes his mission.
I would suggest this Newbery Medal book to all readers. The author thoroughly develops the characters and events incorporating Korean history and art keeping the excitement up till the very end. Crane-man’s advices are influential and can be used in our everyday life. My favorite quote is “…the same wind that blows one door shut often blows another open (97).” This means that an event which brings something bad can often bring something good, later on. Rather than closing up the book with a satisfying ending, the author opens up the reader’s mind at the end with a new twist making it an outstanding book!
Have you ever created a work of art you think would make a great greeting card? If you’re 14 or under, you can enter the 20th annual Pier 1 Imports/UNICEF greeting card contest! This year’s theme is “Making Spirits Bright.” The winning design will be reproduced as an official UNICEF greeting card for the 2011 winter holiday season. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and $500 in art supplies for his/her school! In addition, visitors to the Pier 1 website will be able to cast their vote for the “Fan’s Choice Award.” The artist who receives the most votes will receive $500 in art supplies.
All entries must be received by Pier 1 Imports’ Corporate Headquarters by March 12, 2011. The winner of the contest will be announced in April.
Visit your local Pier 1 store or visit the website to get an entry form.
Image courtesy of UNICEF. Design by Justas Varpucanskis, 2010 “Voter’s Choice” winner
BOOK NAME: Noonie’s Masterpiece
Noonie Norton always had an odd view of art; she went through phases. Blue phases, purple phases, even polka dot phases! Unlike others, she painted everything as she saw it. Noonie painted for only two reasons: first, Noonie wanted to be like her artistic mother; second, she desperately wanted her father to come back for her from his travels. Noonie believed that if her father was impressed by her art, he’d come back to her! When Noonie’s school had an art contest, she saw it as an opportunity to make her father come for her. Would she win?
At age 10, Noonie is younger than me, but a lot like me. She is different from the other people in her school and doesn’t really care what they think of her. She’s artistic, but nobody seems to care. Her best friend, Reno is a math and science geek who assists her with her art; she bosses him and he willingly obeys her. Even though her family really loves her, they don’t always respect her artistic ways.
This book is one I’d pick up for a quick read, but it wouldn’t make it into my list of favorites. The characters are interesting and each has a weird personality. Every page of this book is illustrated with drawings, by the main character, Noonie Norton. The illustrations are just as amusing as the book itself. It’s great if you are interested in a quick and easy read. Being the author’s first book, I think it was impressive.
Think big for a second. If you could do anything, what would you do? Google wants to know and is inviting K-12 students to get their creative imaginations working on what you’d do if you could do absolutely anything.
Your school must be registered by March 17 for you to be able to submit a design and all entries must be received by March 31.
Feeling really artistic? Enter the Ocean Flag Design Contest on National Geographic Kids.