Okay, I take it back. Paint is not evil.
Elisabeth and Emily and I made a little cross-country trip to the city of Anoka on Saturday for a free class at the Rum River Art Center. I am really happy to have found this place! The artist/instructor/curator offers homeschool and after-school programs, plus summer art camps and free classes for families. Joining one other homeschooling mom and her two fact-loving children we used watercolor pencils to copy the style of Henri Rousseau. Rousseau was a post-impressionist French painter whose most famous paintings depict jungle scenes. He painted all of his outdoor scenes indoors using a taxidermist's animals as his models, and he made up the foliage from his imagination or from the specimens at a nearby conservatory. Because his paintings are mostly flat and don't contain a lot of contour, his style is simple for children (and moms) to imitate. Larry, our instructor, took us step-by-step through an imitation of a Rousseau bush baby.
In one hour we learned about artist Henri Rousseau, the smallest known primate on earth (the Sumatran bush baby), and how to effectively use water color pencils. That Larry just sneaked all kinds of good education into that one hour.
We'll be back!