artNotes from Hyde House: Art Adventuring with Homeschoolers

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Petite Guard Dog on Duty

Art adventuring with homeschoolers is a terrific way to begin a gallery day!

Standing on artCentral’s wide front steps, I watched excitedly as one by one a parade of mini vans climbed the Hyde House driveway and parked beneath the spring green canopy of majestic old growth trees. A bevy of energetic homeschooling moms emerged with nearly two dozen eager homeschoolers and there companion siblings. A two-month old babe-in-arms came along for a first art outing.

Oh, how my heart at first sight loved them all and their bright eyes eagerly ready to see lots of art. We did.

Pausing on the porch we introduced ourselves. I told them my job as director-curator is to take care of Hyde House and all the art inside. We chatted a bit about the best ways to look at art and to take care of the art as we look. We agreed to walk about without bumping into display pedestals. We talked about not touching what we would see, no matter how tempting, since our fingers and hands might have oils and soil that might harm the art. We decided they could ask lots of questions, if they remembered to raise their hands so I could help them take turns one at a time.

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Passing through artCentral’s green door of hospitality, we gathered in the foyer. Being rather homunculus, I climbed part way up the stairs so all my homunculus visitors could see me. “Are there any signs in here?” I asked. Lots of hands stretched out with fingers pointing at several artworks displayed around us.

We talked about my “Wiggle Bottom” painting that was the first to be made for artCentral’s current collaborative SIGNS & WONDERS exhibitions. We talked about how artists find inspiration and about how this painting was inspired by driving up a very curvy road with Lasyrenn our Aussie puppy wiggling her bottom in my lap. Everyone seemed to think this is funny, so we began our adventure laughing as we proceeded to take in David’s very long, rotating painting that looks like a two-sided snake with a head like two kings wearing crowns. They called this artwork a “wonder”, instead of a “sign”. I agreed.

My painted photo tableau of a long horn steer making funny faces created giggling responses before we moved on to see my painting made with the image of a leaping deer. Almost everyone said they had seen “be careful” road signs with leaping deers like the one in the painting.

The kids especially liked two of my tableaux of Lasyrenn as a puppy. In one she is hiding in pampas grass with a cat and a chicken while a donkey stands on her head. In another she is perched as a tiny “watch dog” (ha! ha!) on a barbed wire fence along a country road.

Dragon Inn

The homeschoolers were fascinated with my husband David’s art made from keepsakes he did not want to throw away—“Crazy Foot” with his worn out leather sandal and the tiny “Lost and Found” paper box with a mermaid on the front and buttons inside. Of course David’s “Dragon Inn”, a painted wooden shingle hanging from a weathered fence post, brought lots of discussion as we talked about how words and titles can often have double meanings.

Just before we finished exploring the galleries of Hyde House, all the kids and moms loved the special privilege of seeing the studio attic as we concluded our art adventure. Do come and enjoy your own adventure! Weekend Gallery Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. SIGNS & WONDERS, remains on view through May 21.