Sketch Day at the AGO

July 13, 2011

Today was our first “culture” day.  I’m not sure why I came up with such a stupid name for the days of the week in which we go do something creative downtown, but there you have it.  We transferred at Broadview and took the Dundas streetcar all the way west to the Art Gallery of Ontario.  The kids had a great time climbing all over the giant Henry Moore sculpture at the corner of Dundas amd McCall.

I’d been vague about it. The kids didn’t know exactly what we were going to be doing until we actually reached the permanent Henry Moore collection on the second floor of the museum.  Then, I showed them the two small sketchpads in my bag and the tube of coloured pencils I had hidden there.  I was nervous that they wouldn’t be interested in doing much sketching, but they seemed really pleased with the idea, so I had them each choose a favourite sculpture to sketch, sit down on the floor, and get to work!

I hadn’t noticed that there were additional sculptures in the room until my daughter sat down at the rear of a sculpture mounted on top of a large freezer chest. As it turns out, a temporary exhibit, entitled Brian Jungen: Tomorrow, Repeated, had been installed rather seamlessly among the Moores.  And, both of the kids, in their turn, chose both a Jungen and a Moore to sketch.

Eventually we developed a method. The kids’ “Sketch and Tell” notebooks (I had gottem them at the local art store for about $1 each!) had both a space for drawing and a space for writing.  So after they sketched their pieces, they wrote down the title of the artwork and the name of the artist.

We decided to travel to three other rooms in the gallery in order to do some additional sketching.  We went to a room devoted to the work of Lawren Harris, where my daughter chose a landscape painting and my son chose a piece of carved wood.

Then, we went  to the fabulous new space dedicated to Inuit art. My kids are huge fans of the sculpture there.  They filled several pages of their notebooks.  Bea’s a huge fan of bears, so, of course, she chose this Dancing Bear! Then, she found a mermaid-type figure to sketch. Tobes chose a screaming stout male figure to sketch as well as a figure with the head of a man and the body of an airplane.

Finally,  we headed downstairs.  I thought that the kids would want to tackle something from the Animal Tales: Beasts, Toys, and Fables exhibit. I was wrong! Instead, they were drawn to a temporary exhibit entitled, The Passion of Kathleen Munn, a lesser known (and fabulous!) Toronto artist.  Bea chose to sketch one of her untitled abstract paintings while Tobes chose to reproduce one of her sketches.

 And that was our morning!!

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