The Canticle of the Sun

Jude and I both memorized “The Canticle of the Sun” by Saint Francis of Assisi during his second grade block on saints. Each week we focused on learning a single stanza, reciting it while rhythmically tossing bean bags back and forth. The images are so vivid and the pulse of creation is so profound, the poem practically begs to be rendered on paper. We painted the images using wet-on-wet watercolor techniques. (You can see my notes and insights on this medium here.) Jude pasted his paintings into a bound main lesson book, while I taped my together in an accordion-type display.

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Praised be God for brother Sun,
Who shines with splendid glow,
He brings the golden day to us
Thy glory does he show!

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Praised be God for sister Moon
And every twinkling star;
They shine in heaven most bright and clear
All glorious they are.

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Praised be God for brother Wind
That storms across the skies;
And then grows still, and silent moves
And sweetly sings and sighs.

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Praised be God for Water pure
Her usefulness we tell.
So humble, precious, clean and good,
She works for us so well.

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Praised be God for brother Fire
Friendly, and wild, and tame;
Tender and warm, mighty and strong
A flashing, flaring flame.

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Praised be God for mother Earth
Who keeps us safe and well;
Whose mother heart, all warm with love,
Dark in her depths doth dwell.

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Holiday Blog Hop #6

PrintLori over at Waldorf Moms has a beautiful tutorial on how to make a star lantern. Her tutorials are always so easy to follow and this one is no exception. I think these would make a special gift for someone (plus put some of those watercolor paintings to use!)

Here is the full link http://www.waldorfmoms.com/2013/12/how-to-make-a-waldorf-star-lantern.html

*** In case you missed the holiday book posts, here they are again:

 

Grade 2: Celebrating the Season

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In between our math lessons and everything else we have done this month, I made time to read a few seasonal books and also make a couple of crafts to celebrate autumn. We have repeated many of the stories and activities I wrote about in this post last year, but I have also added some new ones. We discovered The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly by Reg Down last year and it immediately stole our hearts. The stories are simple. The characters are endearing. And the tone is tenderly sweet. We read one of the tales in that collection called “Pumpkin Crow” last week and built a fun couple of lessons around it. It was an easy way to celebrate autumn without a lot of fuss.

After reading the story, we did our first watercolor painting that incorporated true form by painting a big pumpkin on a vine. Jude and I sat side by side and I gave him very little direction except for instructing him on the order of layering the colors. After painting the entire paper golden-yellow, we used orange to paint the pumpkin. We used thinner brushes dipped in red to mimic the pumpkin’s ridges. We finished our paintings by adding the stem, vine and leaves with blue paint. This made a nice green because the yellow on the background was still wet. Today we are cutting out crows using this template. Easy and fun. Oh, and check out Mr. Down’s website – there are lots of free stories and poems arranged by season – good stuff!!

What are you doing to celebrate the season? I would love to know. Leave a link in the comments and tell us all about it.

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Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting

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Recently, I spent a couple of rainy hours by myself painting with watercolors. I only used two colors and painted five different paintings. I could have kept going, except I ran out of paint boards. Mostly I followed the inspired instructions in my new favorite resource, Art Lessons for the Elementary Grades published by Live Education. Unfortunately, these volumes are only available by purchasing an entire year’s curriculum through Live Ed or on the off-chance one comes up on the used curriculum site. The first three paintings in this post use yellow and blue without allowing the two colors to come in contact with each other. The fourth painting has the two colors mixing to make green.

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I honestly think you can’t learn to do wet-on-wet watercolor painting by reading about it, watching you tube videos about it or even asking someone about it. Yes, there are hints that can be given, but this is something that must be learned by doing. I will go further and say it is something you need to do/learn first before you can bring it/do it with your children. This is not to teach from a place of expertise, but conversely, to teach from of a place of humility and compassion – “compassion” coming from the Latin and meaning “to suffer with.”

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I mean this only slightly tongue in cheek. Wet-on-wet watercolor painting is hard. I remember a couple of years ago, I wanted the boys to paint a really big piece of watercolor paper, something crazy like 24 x 36. They started balking very early on in the lesson, so with a “how-hard-is-this?!x” attitude, I picked up my brush and started to spread some color over the paper. That paper – which was already huge – seemed to expand before my eyes. The white space seemed endless. I quickly changed my attitude. I’ll say it again, wet-on-wet watercolor painting is hard, however, it is an art form I have grown to love for what it is able to produce on a tangible (physical) level and also what it is able to accomplish on an intangible (soul) level.

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If I could give one piece of advice it would be to not overwork the painting. This is so hard for me, and perhaps something that mirrors a personal struggle of not knowing when to leave something alone . . . ahem. I try to stop a painting about 2 steps before I think it is finished. Less is really more with this medium. Letting a painting dry turns it into something else entirely and ideally, I try not to even look at a painting until the next day. If you can sleep between painting and viewing, you really will be able to see the artwork with fresh eyes.

Resources / Inspiration:

  • Art Lessons for the Elementary Grades, Live Education (This showcases several media and is fabulous.)
  • Painting tutorial, Thinking, Feeling, Willing, Melisa Nielsen (I think this is a great primer!)

Supplies:

I keep all my painting supplies in one of those Sterlite plastic drawers in the schoolroom. On painting day, I take out the whole drawer which contains everything we need except the paint boards and the watercolor paper. I put this on the kitchen table and begin setting up painting stations. I fill a cookie sheet with water and put the paper to soak.

  • Stockmar watercolor paint (3 primary colors)
  • Watercolor paper (I just stocked up with a great sale from jerrysartarama.com. No affiliation; I just love them.) (One more thing about the paper, I am up-sizing from 9 x 12 to 11 x 14 for this coming year. I think bigger is better with this medium.)
  • Painting Boards
  • Sponges
  • Watercolor Brushes
  • Cookie Sheet (to soak paper)
  • Jars
  • Towels

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Click to read some general suggestions regarding Waldorf art supplies.

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