My Son, The Artist

Both of my boys love art projects, as the mounds of paper that we’ve collected over the years attest to.  Recently, however, NHL got to be a part of something bigger.  His school, and many more, had students reinterpret some pieces of art found in the New York State Museum.  The artwork was put on display in the Empire State Plaza’s concourse near the New York State Museum.


Over the weekend, we stopped by the exhibit to have a look.  After some searching, we quickly found NHL’s art.


We were so proud of NHL.  He did a fantastic job.  We even got our artist to pose for a photo with his artwork.  (Begrudgingly, he doesn’t seem to like having his picture taken.)


Of course, JSL felt left out so he posed with the artwork as well.


We also looked at all of the other art pieces on display.  NHL loved pointing out his classmates’ art that was hanging up.  Meanwhile, all of us enjoyed seeing the various pieces.


It is clear that there are some very talented artists in our schools.  Here is hoping that we get to see some more amazing pieces from them in the years to come.

Fishy Museum Activities

One of the things I like about going to the New York State Museum is that they always seem to have crafts or other activities for kids.  When the boys and I went last week, there were two fish related crafts to complete.

The first part involved fish painting.  Each of the boys was given a rubbery fish to paint.  They chose their colors and carefully painted their fishes until there was nowhere left to paint.


Once the fish was painted, they were given a piece of construction paper.  By placing the construction paper over the fish and pressing down…


… they made a fish painting on the paper!

final fish

JSL’s fish was small enough that he was able to make two on the same piece of paper.

With the fish painting done, it was off to the fish washing station to help the fish get all clean and dry for the next kids to arrive.


Later in the day, when we went back to collect our paintings (which had to be left to dry), the kids got to participate in another fish activity.  This time, they were given (one at a time), a fishing rod and taught how to cast out the line.  Instead of a hook, a block on the end would catch hold of some rubbery "fish" which could be reeled in.  A helper would then assist with the net to put the "catch of the day" in.


JSL wound up needing a bit of help with this, but both boys really enjoyed fishing in the museum.

Have you ever done any fun activities in your local museum?

Fun Times Painting an Angry Bird

On Sunday, JSL had a birthday party to go to.  So, when I picked NHL up from Hebrew school, it was just the two of us.  What to do, what to do.  Luckily, B came up with a great idea to leverage NHL’s love of art class: Pottery painting.

After going out to lunch (at a favorite of NHL’s and mine, Five Guys), we went to a nearby pottery painting location.  The staff member who greeted us explained the setup.  We would get to pick out whatever we wanted to paint.  When we were done, we would be charged for the item plus a fee per painter per hour.  Paints, equipment, and firing was included in those fees.  NHL and I looked over the selection and a few items stood out.  Finally, though, NHL found exactly what he wanted.


An Angry Birds pencil holder.

Sorry for the poor photo quality.  I had, in my rush to pick NHL up, forgotten to take my camera with me.  I was limited to my cell phone camera.  (This isn’t the first time I’ve forgotten my camera recently.  Clearly, I need more sleep!)

We filled out the paperwork and were brought a bird for NHL to paint.  The first step was to wash our project.  This removed dust and other items that might interfere with the paint.


When this was done, we were given a tutorial in painting by another staff member.  You would think painting is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s actually quite complicated.  Simply putting one coat of paint on the bird would result in a washed-out looking bird.  You need to dry the paint first (by using some fans they have set up) and then apply two or three coats.  In addition, the paints don’t seem as vibrant when they go on as they are after the project is fired.

NHL was actually very patient through this.  I expected him to be antsy and trying to run off to paint.  Instead, he listened to all of the possibilities and pitfalls.  He even asked a few questions and pointed a few things out.

Then, it was paint time.  We chose some colors based on the paints on the wall.  (Tiles pre-painted and fired to show you what the colors would look like when done.)  NHL chose five that he liked and they were brought to him.  As they were brought over, NHL chose some brushes and sponges to work with.

We got back to the table and NHL began painting.


Slowly, but surely, the bird began to take shape.


Finally, NHL’s bird was done.

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This is one colorful bird.  Don’t worry, though, pigs.  This guy’s not about to fling himself at you.  (I was quite clear about that with NHL.)  Instead, we left him to be fired and finished.  He’ll be done Saturday, so we’ll return then.  NHL and I both can’t wait to see the finished product.

NHL had a blast with the painting.  We wound up only staying for an hour, but he loved every minute of it.  Still, it isn’t an inexpensive endeavor.  The entire project (bird and one hour of painting) cost us $28.  This obviously isn’t something we’ll do on a weekly basis, but for special events, I could definitely see us doing this again.