Las Meninas, Velasquez, 1656

Velasquez was the court painter of Phillip IV of Spain. The little girl in the centre of the picture is the 5 year old Infanta of Spain, Phillip’s only living heir, and Velasquez standing at the back on the left by his easel is painting her picture. The two girls …

The Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

In December 1888, Van Gogh mutilated his ear. Recognizing what was probably depression, he admitted himself to an “insane asylum” for the wealthy where he had his own bedroom and a separate art studio. Here he created some of his most famous paintings, including The Starry Night. Find Don McLean’s …

Smiles Are Contagious

“Don’t worry, I’m vaccinated.” Tell the story of the vaccinations you have had, for what reasons, and your reactions to the shot if any. Also include your memory of your very first “needle” – whether or not it was a vaccination. Write an imaginative story about a grumpy person who …

The Astronomer, Johannes Vermeer, 1668

Vermeer was a dutch painter only 36 of whose paintings have survived- this is probably a portrait of Leeuwenhoek, the first scientist working with microscopes – also Dutch. It was stolen by the Nazi’s during WWII, but returned to the Jewish Rothschild banking family after the war. This painting has …

Life On Other Planets

Think about human efforts to get into space, or to explore the universe through telescopes of various kinds. Write “everything I know” about space. Humans are intelligent, but not the only intelligent beings on the planet. Write everything you know about intelligent animal behaviour in other mammals, ocean dwellers, or …

Valentine’s Day

Write an imaginative story of the “worst Valentine’s Day” ever. What celebrations do you usually have for Valentine’s Day? Write about them in detail. There are many official celebration days throughout the year. Beginning with Labour Day (they day before school starts again usually) describe as many of them as …