We started our day bright and early in the nearby city of Davis (where I went to college). Davis is an amazing place for artists. There is public art on every block downtown.
There is an art-themed parking garage with murals on the walls and gorgeous mosaic benches. An ART-THEMED PARKING GARAGE. Is it any wonder I love Davis?
Even the staircases in the parking garage are covered with art.
Throughout the city, there are seven painted pianos in public places. This one is at the Amtrak station.
As we enjoyed the many murals, statues, paintings, and other artwork, the four of us had a long discussion about what art is, why it is important, and how if affects us as humans. We identified art that is especially meaningful to each of us and talked about the reasons why artists create. We talked about the elements and principles of design and how an artist can use each to convey a mood or message.
Then we headed to The Artery, which is a cooperative art gallery. It was so neat seeing such a wide variety of creations. I chose an exhibit of whimsical gourd birds and showed the boys examples of each of the elements and principles of design.
Then it was their turn to find some art that spoke to each of them. One at a time, they showed examples that they found of the elements and principles of design.
We spoke with one of the artists about her work, which incorporates flowers from her garden onto fabric and other surfaces. The boys learned about different careers in art and what education and training is helpful or necessary to go into a creative field.
We left the gallery and found a shady spot to do our first of four drawings. The art merit badge requires boys to 'render a subject of your choice' in four different ways. We started with pencil. I brought along artist-quality pencils in a variety of hardnesses. We experimented with them, then used them to make a drawing. Angela and I did drawings also; that's my quick pencil sketch of my point-and-shoot camera.
Our next stop was Crepeville for lunch. While we waited for our food, we moved on to our second drawings. This time we used pen and ink.
We left downtown Davis and headed to one of my favorite Davis parks for our third drawings. This time we used pastels. I brought both soft pastels and oil pastels so they could experiment with each.
The boys enjoyed the playground for 30 minutes or so, then we headed to our final sketching location. This time, we worked in charcoal. It's a hard medium for me, and particularly challenging for the fountain I was trying to draw. I had to work hard to soften it so that it didn't look like the children were playing in a giant flame!
The final requirement for the art merit badge required each boy to design his own logo. We talked about the elements and purpose of a logo, then they began creating using PicMonkey (affiliate link). The two couldn't be more different!
By the end of the day, we'd had a great time, learned a lot, and enjoyed each other's company. And both boys completed the art merit badge.
Whether you are in Boy Scouts or not, I'd absolutely recommend having your own Artventure! Pick a city, pack up some art materials, and head out. It's a wonderful way to stretch yourself as an artist, build your creativity, and enjoy the world around you.