art appreciation Robert Bateman
When I saw this post at Chocolate Muffin Tree, I knew it was a project I wanted to do with Bear, but I wondered how I could make it about teaching art appreciation to kids. 
I remembered seeing a Robert Bateman book on someone’s coffee table a LONG time ago and, after a quick Google search, discovered he painted quite a few birds.
Robert Bateman is a Canadian naturalist and artist who was born in Toronto, but now lives on the West coast. Although he was a high school art and geography teacher, he spent a lot of time painting.  He now has six books of his paintings.  His wildlife paintings are just beautiful.
I made some three part cards of Robert Bateman’s bird paintings, which Bear matched up and observed while I washed up the breakfast things.
Art Vocabulary:
I’ve mostly shown Bear impressionistic and abstract artists, so this was very different for her.  We talked about how his paintings are so realistic they look like photographs.  I asked her to think of the theme in all the three part cards.  She told me they were all birds.  I told her we were going to paint birds today, but ours wouldn’t be so realistic:)
I pulled out three books that fit the theme.


and Flip, Flap, Fly!: A Book for Babies Everywhere (mostly for J-jo)

Another book that fits well that we read last year and loved is Birds by Kevin Henkes.

Then the making of art began.

More art vocabulary:

Chocolate Muffin Tree does a great job explaining how to do this project.  I wanted the birds to be bigger, so I modified the method a bit.

 Above – J-jo’s branches.
Below – Bear adding a bird with a potato half.

We used the sides of flat sponges dipped in brown paint for the tree branches.
We got a potato and cut it in half.  Dipped in paint it made the perfect body for a bird.
We used a water bottle lid for the head of the bird.  For the tail, we used the edge of a piece of cardboard, twisting a bit to fan out the tail.

(I helped J-jo with the birds.)
We added a nest, too.  That is the best part, of course.  We went outside in search of pine straw and found tons.

The finished products:

We’ll have to go back when they are dry and add eyes.
This post also linked to stART