Teaching art has been a good fit for me over the years. I’ve learned a lot by articulating what I have learned, and I really enjoy the chance to connect with others. I believe that creativity feeds our souls, and love being able to help others nurse their own creative inner selves. This spring I’ve been working with an elementary school class in a nearby rural community as the students create “legacy art projects” celebrating their school. After 38 years the school is closing and this small class is pretty special, full of thoughtful, creative students with a close bond to each other and their community.
We’ve been experimenting mostly with watercolour, since that is my strength, teaching principles of art like value, colour theory and perspective. We’ve gone out on a couple of occasions to paint en plein air and have learned lots by actually being in the environment we are painting, instead of working from memory and photographs.
On this morning we painted the creek beside the school. I’m frowning in every photo, because it was so cold outside, but the kids didn’t seem to notice!
They are finishing up their projects and they’ve all shown a tremendous about of growth. Even something as simple as learning to place a horizon line in the picture plane can make a big difference, and they are enjoying working with good quality materials and getting honest, and sometimes tough, critiques on their work.
After our painting excursions, we hung and critiqued our work and assessed our strengths and weaknesses.
I’ve also been teaching a monthly girls’ art course. We’ve worked with a number of different mediums, and this month we tried out printmaking, spreading a plastic transparency sheet with ink, impressing different textures and shapes into the ink, and then pressing paper into our “printing plate” to see the result.
Printmaking is an interesting medium. Much like photography, you can make many prints rather quickly, every one different, and make hundreds before you get one that is really something special.
It’s fun because the learning curve is relatively small, and there is a lot of freedom in the creative process.
We used bubble wrap, netting, cling wrap, feathers and stencils to make our prints, and we experimented with single and multi-colour prints on white paper, and white prints on black paper.
We all ended up with a few favourite prints out of our collection, and I know these girls will look at printmaking with new eyes the next time they enter an art gallery. And I have had a ton of fun working with some really creative kids this spring; they really breathe life into the creative process!