Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Looking at Art Online

Like many school districts around the country, our district is making drastic cuts next year. Among the many devastating losses is the art program and the wonderful teachers who run it. Consequently we've been spending some extra time thinking about how to do more art at home.

Art was a big part of our daily lives when AJ was younger and was home more of the time. But since going to school full time, AJ's home art projects have tended toward the unsupervised. His school teachers do a great job at not only teaching concepts and techniques involved in making art, but in connecting those same concepts to the work of well-known artists. We're going to need to bring more of that back into the home next year.

Lucky for us, the fantastic Art Institute of Chicago is only a train ride away, and we go there as often as we can swing it. There are a number of other museums and galleries still to be explored as well. But what about the days when we can't get away?

There are a number of great art resources on the web that have brought virtual museums to life.

The Louvre offers a virtual tour of its galleries online. We also like the Louvre ap for the iTouch/iPhone. While it only has a few paintings, it does a great job of representing them. And the ap is free.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has some great art games for children that grownups will probably enjoy as well.

And the Art Institute of Chicago has a page of online resources that include education tools for both adults and children.

AJ's art teacher also makes use of digital art programs at school and AJ loves to play with them at home.

The art teacher's favorite is Art Rage, which retails, in its full version, for $80. Not a small software investment. But the teacher says that it does the best job of mimicking the techniques of real life materials. For example, when you paint, your brush will start to run out of paint after a while, allowing you to contour your work as you would with actual paint.

But there are free programs as well. AJ and his friends love Tux Paint, a program designed specifically for children that builds in silly sound effects to go along with their artwork.

For 3-d, Google Sketchup is fantastic. It's a complex program that can be used for some pretty serious adult projects, but after a tutorial, it's simple enough that children can use it too. AJ is designing his own town and loves the ability to look on all sides of his buildings, even from underneath.

Do you have favorite online resources for art? Tell us about them!

1 comment:

My Kids' Mom said...

We like for a simple photoshop type experience. You can edit pictures or start with a blank paper.