Monday, August 31, 2015

painting from nature

This past week, I ran a camp for Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove called, "Drawing from Nature".

The first day of camp we spent hiking through the trails and down to the beach. It was a beautiful day and the temperature was perfect. The kids spend the morning sketching the beauty around them and collecting nature's treasures to create artwork with the rest of the week.

The next day, they created acrylic paintings from the hike. We discussed that their artwork could focus on a part of the hike that resonated with them, an item from the hike they collected, or something they wished they would have seen along the way.

(We also created relief tiles with the same instructions. They were stunning but unfortunately I do not have photographs of them to share with you as the last day was very busy up until they walked out the door)

11 year old

As usual, they created their colors using a limited palette of white, black, brown and the primary colors.

7 year old

These two children are twins and were in town visiting their grandmother from Hong Kong. What a great way to take souvenirs home from a trip! Their very own artwork of an environment and town much different than their own.

7 year old

11 year old

As you can see, there was a particular fascination with a tree whose roots were quite exposed. I find it interesting how each child interpreted this tree.

11 year old

This is the view right outside of the gallery. For these lucky kids, this is just the everyday view from main street. 

(If you happen to watch a U.S. television series called Cedar Cove, then you are quite familiar with this view as it is filmed in this town and on this street)

11 year old

We came across some beautiful mushrooms on the hike and I obviously was not the only one fascinated by them.

7 year old

When we made it to the shoreline, it was a treasure trove of beautiful collectables. There were rocks and shells covered with barnacles and this particular one was coveted by a young artist.

7 year old

We crossed a small creek that was home for young salmon and when it is time to spawn, a place where salmon come at the end of their lives. The kids all spent a long time standing still to catch a glimpse of the very young fish and this artist decided to paint a picture of the stream with an adult who has come back to lay her eggs.

7 year old

One of the more exciting moments was when the kids spotted a woodpecker in the woods. I missed it, but it was definitely a highlight of the hike for many.

11 year old

As we neared the beach, there was an excitement in the voice of several of the older girls about a favorite tree. When we arrived, they immediately climbed it and settled in on a branch to sketch. Although I don't recall a swing, it would be a lovely addition to a tree that meant so much to these girls.

7 year old

And finally there was this creation. No, we did not go snorkeling in the water.  However there were many jellyfish laying amongst the rocks while the tide was out. 

Are there sea serpents in the waters of Deep Cove? This child would like to think so to go along with his deep interest and knowledge of the jelly fish.

As you can see, we had a great day hiking. Evident by the images captured in acrylic paint.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

imaginary picasso inspired animals part 2

I was invited to do an art program for Trottin Trottinette summer camp in North Vancouver.

For me, it was the first time since working in my children's elementary school that I would be working with a large group of children.

Unlike when I worked in my children's school though, it would also be a wide age range of students, instead of just one classroom of students all in the same grade.

Together with the amp, we discussed a variety of projects. However the week before the program, we discovered the age range had changed and included a gap from 3 years to 10 years old.

To say I was a bit apprehensive on how to handle 33 children ranging in age from 3 to 10 years old would be an understatement.

Then I remembered the project I had just finished inspired by Picasso's cubist period.

I knew it would work well with a wide variety of ages and require minimal supplies that I would have to travel to the camp site.

I thought given the circumstances, the day was a great success.  There were some adorable works created by all the different age groups. For the three year olds, I encouraged exploration with the watercolors and it held their attention quite well.

Although there are no ages on the pieces I am showing, I think you can get a sense at just how successful this project can be regardless of age.












The kids all used liquid watercolor in just the three primary colors. I love the variety of colors they can get from just this limited palette. I stress washing the brush between colors so they don't just end up with pots of brown and all age groups did a great job remember this one "rule".

If they finished early, I had cut watercolor paper in half and offered them the opportunity to do some automatic drawing with a permanent black marker and the leftover watercolor in their pots. Basically telling them to loop a continuous line across each other four or five times.

They then had the opportunity to find the imaginary animal hidden within the lines.  How cute are these?






Sunday, August 23, 2015

oil pastel magic

On the last day of the Magic and Myth camp, I put out a variety of items I have on display in the studio.

Walnut shell halves found on a hike, leaf and flower skeletons, a silk worm cocoon, shells, you name it, I have picked it up. There is even a small bird skull because it's not weird enough that I keep a dead bird in the freezer for drawing studies.....

I find these things fascinate the kids and are more often than not, a source of inspiration for their artwork. If nothing else, my hope is that they realize beauty is all around us if we only take time to look.

Anyway, we were winding down a week of art projects and the kids were looking drained. I decided to have a little fun, since it was the Magic and Myth camp,and presented the above items with a bit of embellishment.

There was an orange love potion in a bottle I picked up from a wizard. It could of been an old bottle filled with orange soda, but no one knew for sure.

8 year old

I presented a poison apple I stole from the wicked Queen on her way to find Snow White. (Snow, we're on a first name basis, can thank me later by having the seven dwarfs come over to clean my house!)

7 year old

And there was a magical bean (silk worm cocoon) that was stolen by my good friend, Jack, from a giant.

8 year old

Needless to say the kids got a good laugh and although they knew better, really wanted to believe the fairytales I was spinning as I placed the items on the table.

"That's not really a love potion, is it?" 
"Come on, that's Fanta! right?"

I told them they would have to try it to find out, but shouldn't come crying to me when every boy in town was chasing after them. Lots of giggles, but absolutely no one was willing to risk the threat of boys making goo-goo eyes at them.

Give it a couple more years.

7 year old

I left it up to them how many things they chose to put into their composition. Amongst all the fun, I tried to get them to focus on the shadows and highlights. I spent time with each of them, showing them how to make an apple look "3-D", or how to add highlights to the bottle than went over the orange potion.

7 year old

6 year old

How great is this bird skull? I always stress that the kids should put their own spin on a drawing, not to worry about making it look just like it does in real life. I'm so glad this child took that to heart. 

7 year old

Several of the kids began taking the items and adding their own imagination to embellish them in their artwork, like this potion bubbling over and into the silk cocoon.

Or this very abstract work of a walnut shell.

9 year old

 I love this soft color palette this artist used in her piece, when placed with all her other work of the week, it fits a very definite aesthetic.

10 year old

10 year old

It was fun playing make believe for an hour before the parents arrived and I love the art each child created, art they can now use to tell their own make believe stories of the week they spent in Magic and Myth camp.