The VAIC Studio student show continues to be on display at the local public library until the end of June. Kudos to all my students who put in their best....I am proud of them! I hope their patience and persistence is evident in the work.
The vision of the studio since the beginning is to provide the atmosphere and tools for students to create whole, poetic works, born out of their own ideas, sensitivity, and perceptiveness, full of unity and rich design. The first ten students and I overcame obstacles (cold, heat, mosquitoes) and at the end of the year, we mounted, matted, and "museum-protected" a sampling of their work.
A popular theme among the children has been wolves and dragons. While I offer subjects, exercises, and themes at an earlier level, as they progress, the children best show forth their practiced skills and principals in choosing their own subject matter. The work below took several sessions. Notice the rich coloring in this acrylic painting by this second grade student. The variation in the pattern of the tree branches, the cotton-ball-like leaves, the rocks around the gurgling stream and background mountains all make for a rich and lively composition, with the action drawing us in. If you'll notice, the wolves have jumped a hedge, each one is a different color. If you look very carefully, you'll see they've left a small wolf pup back in the woods.
In drawing practice, the students "built" a wolf head, studying the face structure, layering on the hair. Several students felt inspired to give their wolves names.
Dragons have been another popular chosen theme. After learning to draw a basic dragon, this student's mother reported finding drawings of dragons multiplied throughout the house. During art camp he also drew a giant dragon and made a dragon sculpture, complete with detailed scales. I rejoiced with him in the completion of this 18X24" acrylic painting below, full of intimidating background angles and dark shapes, the dragon standing out as if he could leap off the page with his bright wings and outstretched claws. I love with the curve of the tail and the black shape it creates with the wing, which is the mouth of a cave. Silas exclaimed when he was finished, "I made my first real painting!"
Another student made a colored pencil drawing of a dragon breathing fire. The clouds show distance in the background, and the execution of each spine crest on his back would make any teacher of second-grade cursive handwriting envious.
In drawing practice, students studied the sphere and made pencil portraits with a full range of drawing pencils. The sphere below is by a fourth grade student.
I am inspired by Frank Wachowiak, of whom it is written, that for him, "helping children make beautiful art was almost a religious quest." He writes that teachers of art should learn to listen to children's description of their experiences, both real and imaginary, with sympathetic interest. When students want to express something personally meaningful, they will invest their energies and lose track of time.