We've been doing "school lite" for a few days, just trying to catch up on things left undone before the Christmas break.
Today the homeschoolers and I drove in to DC to see two temporary exhibits at the National Gallery of Art. Yesterday, to get ready, I reviewed the styles and works of JMW Turner and Edward Hopper with the children. I have found that advance preparation always makes an art visit better: there is less need to read and explain on site, and there are usually some, "Oh! I remember this!" moments.
We arrived at 10:15, which meant 2 hour parking at a meter instead of unlimited time in front of the museum (those spaces are snatched up at 10:00). The parking enforced a speedy visit.
First we saw Turner's work. He started out as an English landscape painter in watercolor and oil. As time went on, he became more interested in light itself than in objects. As usual, Mom spent too much time reading the captions and staring, so we had just 30-40 minutes left for the Edward Hopper exhibit. He was an American realist painter who liked to paint light on buildings. He made cities, structures, and ordinary things special. You've probably seen Nighthawks or one of his lighthouse paintings.
It was good to spend time with my "young four" doing something enriching and fun, especially because I am usually too chicken to drive into the big city without a convoy or another grownup. After today (and two trips in November), I'm hoping to enjoy the awesome resources of DC more often.