So…maybe this will become a little series. I’ve never been good with blog series or themes, but we’ll pretend this is a series until it ends. This week we studied Andrew Wyeth. Before I introduce an artist to the kids I do a little studying on my own and brainstorming how we can incorporate something about that artist into a project. I also do a little pre-screening of art, since not all is age appropriate for my kids.


For our study on Andrew Wyeth, I decided we would make egg tempera paint. Our version is a make-shift version using what I had on hand. I wanted them to get the gist of the process of making the paint, but I was not concerned about it being totally authentic.

Egg tempera paint was made with egg, water and powdered pigments. This project would be SO MUCH easier if we used liquid color (food coloring, liquid watercolors, etc.). However, I wanted to kids to think about how hard it was to actually get powered pigments – lots of grinding of various substances had to take place!

We used water color tablets (popped them out of a water color set) and then I had the kids try to grind them…with the top of a bed post I found in the garage. I was using what I had on hand. Grinding works best with non-porous surfaces…and something rounded. Our paint plate and metal bed post top worked great.

2.15wyeth-012.15wyeth-022.15wyeth-03Next the kids separated the egg white and yolk.2.15wyeth-04We read that artists would gently roll the egg yolk on a towel to dry it and then pierce the yolk to allow the inside to pour out. The kids thought these steps were especially fun!2.15wyeth-052.15wyeth-062.15wyeth-072.15wyeth-082.15wyeth-09Next, we mixed the powder, yolk and water. Some of the colors worked better than others.2.15wyeth-10My eight year old was not thrilled with the consistency of the paint. It provided a great opportunity to talk about the challenges artists faced in the days that Hobby Lobby wasn’t around the corner!2.15wyeth-122.15wyeth-132.15wyeth-14We don’t do art projects every day, but I do try to study one artist in depth once a week. I miss art class. A lot. I may not be in a season where I am creating much physical art, but I am in a season where I can come along side my kids as they create. Busy hands also mean they sit relatively still and it provides a perfect time for us to listen to books, memory work or just good music. I try to keep their projects on 8.5×11 paper and then place them in plastic sleeves in a binder.

“One’s art goes as far as deep as one’s love goes.”

~ Andrew Wyeth

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  • Dawn - I am so glad you’re doing this “series”. I teach elementary school (part time as a reading and math interventionist). The school is having an Arts Day soon which I am SO excited about! I volunteered to lead a session so I’m trying to gather some ideas. I love that our (public) school is spending an entire day on the arts! (Very refreshing when we have been too focused on technology this year) So, thanks for the inspiration in these posts. Still pinching myself about coming to Washington too!

  • kassondra - Silly question but are those new paint trays? We paint a lot and my paint trays never come clean. I don’t mind because the old paint is dry and doesn’t change the color of the new paint. But your’s are bright white! What’s your secret?

  • Sandy C - That’s great, thank you for sharing this paint making process. What a wonderful art lesson. Also, you’re series on OK travel destinations is fantastic and our family has referenced them for local vacation ideas :)

  • Lynet Witty - Ashley, this is incredible that you would do this the hard way for all your children. I especially love that you mentioned how one of your sons was disappointed in the consistency — because i would have been too. I am SO grateful for Hobby Lobby today.
    This inspires me to do something with my 4 year old–we love to paint.

  • Lakmali - Such a nice idea!!!!!!

  • Emily - Beautiful and inspiring post. Thank you for sharing this. It reminded me that art can create peaceful moments among even the most busy and crazy days. I will be looking for more ways to integrate art projects back into my life!

  • Rebekah - Thanks so much for sharing! As a person who is not artistic, it is great to get some great ideas on how I can encourage art with my kids! We do artist/pictures studies but I am not very good at coming up with hands on ways to learn about artists.

  • Jenni - I was just introduced to this artist via a song my friend wrote. It’s inspired by the girl and the abandoned house painting ( not sure it’s technical name). A woman haunted by her past is the idea.

  • Tina - Love the comment about overcoming challenges when Hobby Lobby is not right around the corner! Thank you for making me smile. :)

  • Abigail Bennett - Have you heard of the youtube series “The Art Assignment”? It’s hosted by PBS and each week they interview a contemporary artist and get an “assignment” that’s based on the style of the artist. I don’t know how much it’s geared towards younger kids, but I bet you could adapt it to fit.

  • Sarah - Yes! Would love to see more of this :) Love all the creative things you do with your kiddos and am very inspired by these art posts!

  • Kelsey - As an art teacher, I’m so jealous of all the art you get to do with your kids. I wish I had small enough groups to do fun stuff like this! And I think it’s great that you spend so much time with them making and studying art. I was homeschooled growing up my mom didn’t do stuff like this with us. Although to be fair, this was plenty of years ago when art education wasn’t as widespread. But I’m still really looking forward to doing stuff like this when I (hopefully) get to homeschool my own kids someday!

  • Johanna - I love seeing your home-school art studies… what a true gift you are giving to your children (in so many ways).
    As a former art teacher and BFA student (and a creative type), I just love seeing children learn about art in a tangible way.
    Today’s world is so fast paced and full of technology, but to slow down and learn hands on processes, it is such a skill and important lesson to learn. Problem solving, creative thinking… so may wonderful things!
    Bravo Mama!
    - Johanna

  • colleen from alabama - This is awesome… Did you pick up an extra child?

  • Valerie - Ashley, I don’t comment very often, but I have kept up with your blog for several years because you inspire me both as a Mom and a wanna-be photographer. I really like seeing the art that you do with your kids. I really want to instill a love of creating in my boys, so I really enjoy getting ideas from you. Thanks for all the sharing that you do with us.

  • elizabeth H - I’m {THRILLED} that you’re doing this series!!
    It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for w/my Little’s.
    I’m pinning ALL of them!

  • Lisa - I loved reading this post and seeing the process you went through with your kids. It’s inspiring. My kids are still pretty little but we try to do projects together often. It’s great to get ideas and a vision for the future.

  • Anna - Oh wow! We just made egg tempera paint last week, too. We studied Giotto, and egg tempera was the art activity. We crushed pastels for our pigment using the mortar and pestle from the kitchen, and the kids loved it. I thought the dried texture of the paint was really interesting, how it stayed glossy after dry. Pretty cool!

  • Eliz - How dd you get that last picture?

  • Jenny B. - It’s so great that you are sharing your passions with your kids, and you are obviously a teacher at heart. :)

  • audrielle - this is so creative, such an awesome idea!
    Whodah thunk it! haha

  • Jessica - So, we also do CC (this is our second year). And I have never expanded on the artists we’ve learned about at home until Andrew Wyethe. I found a thick autobiography at the library and skimmed it (mistake). My oldest son loves art and as soon as we got home he sat down and flipped through every page. Later that evening my husband was looking through the book with my son and he says, “Honey, did you know Wyethe painted pictures of people naked? Like, full male genitalia naked?” Oops.

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - I loved studying Wyeth. His work is so raw and real. Did your naturalist enjoy O’Keefe? Her work with bones has always fascinated me.

  • Becki - Are you doing Classical Conversations? I ask because of the artists you are studying; it can’t be a coincidence that they are the same ones we are studying this year, lol! Thanks for such a great idea; even if you aren’t in CC, Andrew Wyeth is the one we are studying next week and I’m totally going to use this at home. We actually do the art project in our class and then are supposed to practice it at home, and this will be a great way to do our home activity. Thanks!

  • Ruth - I am always encouraged when i see you teaching all of your kids together. I am sure they all benefit from the experience uniquely, and yet all get to participate. I am just starting the home schooling journey with my five-year-old but hope to continue with my younger kids and posts like these give me ideas and encouragement that it is possible! Thank you!

It is a sad day when you play Capture the Flag with your boys and your oldest tags you as you are trying to bolt with the flag. The teams got uneven, so I opted to take a few pictures. Really, I was just winded and feeling defeated that my 10 year can run faster than me. When did he get so fast? Or when did I get so slow? I clearly need to start running more if I want a chance of even remotely keeping up with these growing boys. I want to cheer them on from the sidelines and play along beside them too, but I also don’t particularly like running. Maybe I’ll invest in weighted vests and try to convince them to wear those when we play.

ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 200mm

2.15flag-01ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-06ISO 100, 1/1600, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-02She semi-played. She switched between twirling and being fully engaged in the game. When she got tired of running, she just watched and told the boys they were doing a good job.

ISO 100, 1/1600, f/2.8 90mm ~ ISO 100, 1/1600, f/2.8 80mm2.15flag-03ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-05ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-07ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-08ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-09ISO 100, 1/500, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-10ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.8 200mm2.15flag-11



Registration for the next SnapShops began this week. You can click here for more information on the courses and to register. I am planning on doing a summer course and possibly one more in the fall. Those dates have not be set at this time.

Upcoming Course Dates

Phone Course: April 13th, 2015 – May 2nd, 2015

DSLR Course: April 13th, 2015 – May 9th, 2015

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  • beth p. - First, let me say that you may be able to keep up for awhile, but like it or not, your boys will be faster than you one of these days. I’m the mom of a daughter and five sons, all grown now (oldest is 32, youngest is 20) and I’d love to share a little story with you. I spent a LOT of time on the sidelines as a wife and mom; marathons and other road races with my husband; horse shows and cross country races with my daughter; basketball, football, soccer, and track and field games with my guys. In September, 2012, I did my first triathlon. My husband was a great coach and together with my sons that live here, they cheered me from the sidelines. At one point, the three guys that were there were running along the side of the road shouting and cheering. It was incredible. After the race, one of my sons said, “Mommy, when is the last time we were on the sidelines cheering for you? You’ve been there for us so much.” We looked at each other, realizing in that moment that this was a first. It was a sweet moment as it hit him how much time over the years I’d spent cheering for my children and he expressed his gratitude for all my sideline hours. I thought in that moment that it wouldn’t have had it any other way, but I was glad for the opportunity to be the one in the race, at long last! After overcoming some health issues, I’ll be competing with my 24 year old son in my second triathlon in June!

    Thanks for sharing your life with us, Ashley. I always come away from this space glad.

  • Kate S. - If you got them weighted vests, imagine how fast they’d be when they weren’t wearing them?! That should be enough to dissuade you from that course.

    I am over here shaking my head and laughing at Firecracker out there playing flag football in her twirling dress: )

  • Lindsey McClennahan - HAHAHA weighted vests. Tell them you’re taller so you have a bigger wind resistance ; )

  • Natalie Anthony - One thing I’ve always admired about you is that you allow your little girls to wear dresses whenever they want…in this case even her new dress in a dirty field! I probably need to lighten up with stuff like that a little more.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - She is just so precious. Love all her poses!

  • AshleyAnn - Natalie – she grows so fast! I’d rather her get to wear it as much as possible while she loves it and it fits than only wear it a couple times before she outgrows it :)

  • Allison - the running shots are just so good!

Lots of capture the flag, soccer, football and basketball happening around our house. The girls have been far outnumbered – 3 to 7. If you count the dog, cat and hens then we outnumbered the boys. Truth be told, I kind of like it when the house is full of boys.

2.15boys-042.15boys-02In the midst of all the boys running around, I snuck away with my oldest daughter…to Target to go dress shopping.

My oldest son saw the sign, “Father/Daughter Dance Tickets on Sale Now”

I saw the sign, “Father/Daughter Dance Tickets on Sale Now”

Not knowing the other had seen the sign, we both told Chris about it. Everyone in our house knew that night was made for one little girl in our house.

Chris formally asked her to the dance and then we went shopping. She picked out about 8 dresses – from the big girl section (WHAT?!). As she tried them on, she had me video her twirling in each dress. Then she replayed the videos and determined which dress had the best spin. She was laughing. I was laughing. It was the most fun I’ve ever had shopping. I came home and told Chris I need another job just to make money to take her shopping all the time!2.15boys-01The big night came. Her little sister and I laughed the whole time we helped her get ready. The boys (brothers and friends) all made her feel special when she came out to meet her daddy.

2.15dance-012.15dance-022.15dance-03Chris said he barely got to dance with her. Something about her walking into the room and treating the night like a performance. I can’t picture that at all.2.15dance-052.15dance-06

Throughout the night Chris sent a couple pictures to us of her on the dance floor. As fun as it was to see her so happy, it was pretty awesome to watch her big brothers excited for her. I love that they made her feel so wonderful about the evening and encouraged her in it. My girls have no idea how good they have it with those boys as big brothers.

She is already talking about next year…and we are already reminding her that in a few years her little sister’s turn will come! Chris better keep his dancing shoes ready.

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  • Amy @thelittlefarmdiary - Such sweet, sweet memories Ashley. I’m totally sticking around your blog because that precious little daughter of yours is going to be quite the teenager! ;)

  • Brenna - LOVE this! The sweetness of your boys brought me to tears. Y’all are doing an amazing job to bring up such tender hearts.

  • Lakmali - Sweet !!!!! they both look awesome!!!!!!

  • Chris - So. Much. Joy. Thanks for making my morning!

  • Rebecca - Oh be still my heart. This fills my soul with happiness for future of our twin girls with their daddy. Even before we had children he would talk about how he wanted to take his future daughters on dates. I am so incredible lucky to have a husband that will show our daughters what it means to be a man. Thank you for the beautiful glimpse into my future :)

  • Debbie - Adorable! Thanks for sharing.

  • Nicole C - I’m 33 now and I still remember a father/daughter dance I went to. The photo I have from it helps, I just remember being there with my Dad. He still gives me up from work every Tuesday, to take me to lunch.

  • Tanya - This is so sweet in every way!
    (side note: my daughter just started shopping in the big girl section too, so when you wrote that I teared up – they grow so fast!)

  • Heather - Could it be any sweeter!! LOVE!

  • Karyn - Aw, you can just see her beautiful spirit bursting out of those photos! Daddy must have been so thrilled to be her date!

  • Diana - this is all kinds of adorable!

  • Andrea - Okay, I wish I knew you in real life. Every post about your daughter just reminds me of my daughter. I think they would be best friends (and hopefully we’d get along, too!). I also have to take pictures and videos of her in dresses so that she knows how much they twirl.

  • Erica - Oh my heart. These pictures are precious and what sweet memories!

  • Tracie M. - Performance! That’s exactly what happened when my husband took our daughter to their first daddy-daughter dance. He hardly got to dance with her at all!

    Beautiful pictures and such a precious time in her life.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - So sweet! Firecracker, you look amazing!

  • Heather - Love this! The picture of her looking up at him melts my heart :)

  • Amy K. - I am highly embarrassed that I have NEVER chosen a dress based on its spin-ability… thanks to Firecracker, my priorities have been corrected. =)

  • candace - I love the backlighting on the basketball pics!

  • Shana - Beyond precious!!! Having a daddy to invest in your life is priceless!

  • Amy Cornwell - So precious!

  • Elise - Beautiful post!!! I love the look in her eyes!!!! You are such an encouragement!!! You are a blessing to so many moms that you may never meet!

  • Jakob - This post is amazing. There is many things that can be said. But the most of apperant of them all is that father´s heart for his child. It is beautiful, so beautiful, how happy they both look, the joy in his face. She is so blessed to have a father like that. Some thing many can only dream of and spend there whole life chasing after, she is blessed with that. That makes me both smile and cry, it is so moving. Chris is a great father and I just want to encourage you all. The boys is wonderful too, the way they encourage their sister. You have a way of beeing family that inspires. God bless all of you.

  • Krystin Robertson - So sweet! The shopping trip sounds hilarious!

  • Julie - You are so lucky to have such moments in your country…I love that concept and the way it is formalized..Love your daughter s face on the ” tango step” photo! It made me laugh so much!